New system should help track livestock

Henry

Members of Free State Agriculture (FL) have launched a project to make it easier to detect foot-and-mouth disease in animals.

This comes after the first foot-and-mouth disease incident in 2022, which had enormous financial consequences for the province’s livestock value chain.

During the organization’s 2022 congress, members of VL saw fit to prevent further risks by putting this plan into action.

According to Francois Wilken, president of VL, the organization has investigated several possible solutions, including livestock management software, microchips and systems that collect information by means of artificial intelligence.

“The systems, which had to be approved by the international committee for animal record keeping, were assessed on the basis of practical application, cost effectiveness and market readiness,” says Wilken.

The animal identification and movement system (AIMS) was finally decided upon. This is already being implemented in Agri Eastern Cape.

The live web page was launched during a meeting with the Bethlehem District Farmers’ Union.

Allfex, a supplier of farm equipment, which provides electronic identification and visual laser printed labels (VID), will also be involved in the system. VID tags contain a QR code of the unique number that enables accurate data capture with a smartphone.

Dr. Jack Armour, commercial manager for VL, explains that the system provides a platform to order and allocate uniquely numbered ear tags for livestock. This is necessary for recording the sale and transfer of livestock to new locations, with the necessary section 6 and 8 transfer forms and an animal health form.

“If any animals with the unique tags are found, ownership can be quickly traced.”

VL intends to obtain a sponsorship to finance the system in collaboration with state veterinarians and common farmers’ committees.

“This is an outreach exercise to add a further security aspect, as well as to mark and record ownership of common stock on the system.”

Livestock farmers are advised to make use of this web page if traceability and safety are required at a later stage.

“Personal information such as contact details, location of farms and where animals are kept, will not be disclosed.”

The Free State and Eastern Cape have signed an agreement to further develop AIMS in the future.

R1 from each tag sold will be used to improve systems and keep up with industry trends and needs.

“If and when the state finally makes a national livestock identification and traceability system (LITS) mandatory, a farmer will have the option to effortlessly transfer his or her selected data from FS-AIMS to the national LITS,” says Armour.