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Gallagher Plays Key Role With EID

Gallagher Plays Key Role With EID At World's Biggest Livestock Show

The world's biggest livestock show ran more smoothly this year thanks to kiwi technology.

Last month's annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo entertained more than 1.7 million visitors.

Professional breeders and ranchers from across the country and junior exhibitors throughout Texas met in Houston for the 2005 Houston Livestock Show.

More than 31,000 animals were on display and evaluated this year.

Gallagher Animal Management Systems, a division of the Gallagher Group, has been the official animal scale provider at the show for the past three years, but this year it also facilitated the introduction of electronic animal identification (EID).

Gallagher product manager Owen Boyes travelled to Houston for the third consecutive year working with Gallagher USA to oversee the running of the weighing and EID equipment.

"It's impossible to describe the magnitude of this three-week event. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the Reliant Center and Arena daily to witness it and the prize monies are just phenomenal," Boyes says.

Gallagher participated in the introduction of the first fully electronic scales at the Houston Livestock Show three years ago.

"Since Gallagher has introduced its SmartScale systems, weighing and data capture of animals at the show has been transformed".

Boyes says show organisers decided to trial EID tags on the cattle section this year after seeing how well the electronic weighing system worked.

"Organisers were looking for a way to keep better track of the animals entered in the show. With some prizes worth tens of thousands of US dollars, it means the risk of fraud – such as people entering different animals than registered – are heightened.

"This year all cattle registered for the show were fitted with an Allflex EID tag by the Texas validation program. The tags made it almost impossible for people to enter a different animal from the one registered and also meant judges and officials didn't have to worry about manually recording the correct animal number to their results.

"Because manual recordings were eliminated, so was the chance of human error making the show's results much more accurate and efficient."

Boyes says handling times were also down, speeding up the show process by up to two hours.

"In the past the cattle weighing day could run for up to 11 hours, but this year we cut that right down to only eight and a half hours by using the automated equipment instead of relying on people to record results."

Show organisers will meet next month for a debrief and a decision whether to roll the electronic tagging across more livestock categories next year.

"Electronic identification proved to be an absolute success story this year," Boyes says. "Some of the committee members said to me the cattle weighing section had never been run as smoothly – and the fact we finished so early was testament to the increased efficiencies."

As well as cattle, other livestock such as sheep, pigs, rabbits, goats, horses, llamas, alpacas, donkeys, chickens and turkeys are among the animals entered by both adults and children.

Boyes believes the electronic identification system would be valuable for all four-legged animal sections, except the rabbits that don't require weighing.


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