RFID tag readers
Using an RFID tag reader is a great way to keep on top of your NAIT requirements. These are not mandatory under the scheme, but they can provide many benefits to you:
- Eliminates human error when writing down visual tag numbers.
- Reads the tag signal correctly even if the tag is covered in dirt, mud or excrement.
- Improves safety by minimising the need for close contact with the animals (an electronic tag scanner picks up tag signals at a distance of between 30-90cm).
- Data can be used in conjunction with other on-farm tools and software to improve individual animal records and production.
Types of tag readers
There are numerous brands and reader types, so it pays to shop around to make sure you get the reader that is most suited to your farming practice and what you need it to do. Most brands are available from your local rural supply store or online.
The three main types of readers are:
Portable mini RFID reader
- Smaller and less costly than larger wand readers.
- Their size means you need to be closer to stock to read their tag.
- Not all models are wireless capable or have rechargeable batteries.
- Not all models are able to connect with smartphones.
- This option is best suited for smaller herds or lifestyle farmers.
Prices generally range from $350 - $500 +GST
Portable RFID wand/stick reader
- Larger and more durable than mini RFID readers, these are the most common on-farm readers.
- Most models are wireless and bluetooth capable.
- Many come with their own smartphone app which can send data directly to NAIT.
- Often come with rechargeable batteries.
- They provide effective operation from a safe distance and come in a wide variety to suit your herd size and farming practice.
Prices generally range from $1000 - $2500 +GST
Fixed panel RFID reader
- The largest and most expensive option, fixed panel readers provide an effective solution for reading stock moving into or through a certain point – such as weigh scales, a race or a crush.
- Can be linked to weigh scales and other animal handling facilities.
- They have greater tag reading distances than hand held readers.
- Require a larger power source.
- Ideal for reading large numbers of stock, which is why they are generally used by saleyards.
Prices generally range from $2800 - $3500 +GST
How do I get data from my reader into NAIT?
RFID readers generally come complete with their own computer compatibility options. Once animals are scanned, users can upload tag number files from their tag reader directly to a computer using plug-in USB technology. Once correctly formatted, data can then be uploaded directly into the NAIT system.
Many companies also incorporate NAIT functionality into existing farm management tools, such as weigh scale software. This allows more effective individual animal management. There are also a number of mobile apps available to assist with NAIT farm management. If you are already using farm management software then speak to your provider, or look online to find out what options are available.