New technology for sheep tracking

Pera Technology has developed an accurate and cost-efficient method for monitoring sheep movements, which could greatly improve food-chain tracking.

The Melton Mowbray-based company developed the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tag through its ROSEI project, aimed at farmers who are reliant on single farm subsidies.

Pera Technology project manager Brian Stevens said: Current methods of group identification are inadequate and can lead to severe penalties, which farmers can ill afford. More importantly, the uncontrolled movement of animals could lead to the spread of disease, which was the main driver for the introduction of such stringent legislation in the first place.

If successful in reaching our objectives, livestock farmers will have an affordable and reliable response to EC legislation. This could protect them from subsidy loss of tens of thousands of pounds and the country against a repeat of the 11bn loss that occurred during the 2001 foot-and-mouth (FMD) outbreak.

The solution will help farmers struggling after the European Commission enforced strengthened legislation following the 2001 FMD outbreak as current low-frequency systems recall 90-95%, giving farmers a significant subsidy penalty for misidentified animals.

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