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Cattle Identification Benefits

Tagging your cattle with an individual identification (such as a unique ear tag number) has many management and production benefits. Not only will you be able to quickly verify which cow you are working with (cow 123 instead of "the one with the white spot on her face") - this helps you (or someone helping you) locate her record in your record keeping system.

By using individual identification, you can also track your cattle's performance. It can be tough when decision making time comes around to figure out which cows should be sold or culled, but the decision can be more objective if you've been keeping track of a cow's history of calves.

A few other ways individual identification makes a difference:

  • Breeding Cattle Inventory: You can keep an accurate count of your cattle, and track their age. This helps when determining if you need to have more replacement heifers to ensure a good-aged herd.
  • Female Culling: Rather than trying to remember the performance of a certain cow's past few calves, you would be able to see the actual records and details.
  • Carcass Data for Female Selection: Genetics certainly are a factor for carcass performance, and evaluating a cow or bull's influence on carcass quality can more easily be completed when tracking individually identified cattle.
  • Premium beef programs: Special beef programs, such as branded beef, age & source verification, and backgrounding programs require individual performance records. These programs can provide another marketing outlet for your cattle and are worth considering to help you get a premium for your management and record keeping efforts.

Individually identify your cows, bulls, and calves to make the most of your production and management processes - the time, cost and resources to individually identify your cattle can easily pay for itself and provide you with long-term benefits.

* Ideas based on: "Individual Cattle Identity Records for Cow-Calf Producers: Ways to Make Records Cost Effective" by James M. McGrann, Lawrence Falconer, and Gary Rupp.