Traceability is the process of following an item or a group of items – be it animal, plant, food product or ingredient – from one point in the supply chain to another, either backwards or forwards. The concept was introduced to the dairy industry about 25 years ago for emergency management and to respond quickly to animal health, public health and food safety issues.
Traceability is based on three pillars:
- Premises identification
The identification of sites where animals are born, kept, assembled or disposed.
- Animal identification
A unique lifetime identification number applied to each animal.
- Record and report animal movement
Reporting animal movement events with premises and tag identifications.
It is mandatory for all calves born on Canadian dairy farms to be identified with a unique tag number at birth and this number stays with them throughout their lifetime. In fact, traceability affects over 1.4 million dairy cows on over 10,000 farms.
DairyTrace is the national dairy cattle traceability program administered by Lactanet Canada. DairyTrace provides protection, prosperity and peace of mind to the Canadian dairy industry and its customers in the event of emergency management.
Dairy producers and affiliates report their traceability data to DairyTrace, and the system then captures and manages information on dairy cattle across Canada.
Traceability is one of six modules of the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) proAction® initiative, which establishes premises identification, tagging, recording and reporting requirements for dairy producers across Canada. DairyTrace provides the national database that producers report their traceability data to. Aligned with these proAction® requirements, the DairyTrace program is run by Lactanet Canada, as the responsible administrator for dairy cattle traceability, who therefore maintains the database while offering the tools and services for a national traceability system.
Under federal regulations and/or the proAction requirements, everyone who owns or has the possession, care or control of dairy cattle must report animal identity, movement, location and custodianship information to DairyTrace. Dairy producers and other stakeholders have various options when submitting traceability information. These methods may differ to respect government regulations in their respective province.
It’s simple! Search the app store to install DairyTrace onto your mobile device. Don’t forget, you must first activate your DairyTrace account on-line or through DairyTrace customer services before you can work with the app.
Another very important change is the availability of a new white single button RFID tag for dairy animals born outside the province of Québec. This new tag is allowable under proAction® requirements as an exception for identifying calves born on a dairy farm that are destined to leave the farm at a young age for purposes other than dairy production. The white single button tag is designed to replace the current allowable use of yellow button tags and keeps those animals within the DairyTrace system. All other animals on dairy farms across Canada must be double tagged.
In addition to the new DairyTrace website, mobile app, and on-line portal, there will be some changes to the branding on forms, tags and other materials.
My DairyTrace Account
When logged into your account, your username will appear on the top right-hand corner of your DairyTrace online portal. If you forget your username and cannot log into your account, contact customer services for assistance.
If you forget your DairyTrace account password, it can be reset from the log in page by clicking Forgot your password? You will be required to enter the email address associated with the account username and respond to an access security question. Once completed, a link to reset your password will be sent to you, which you can then use to log in to the DairyTrace portal. If you need further assistance, please contact Customer Services at 1‐866‐55‐TRACE (1‐866‐558‐7223).
When you log in to your online DairyTrace account, you will be able to find the proAction report immediately on the Welcome page. It is listed as one of the bottom “link” items. If you do not have online access, contact customer services and they will print the report and mail, fax or email it to you.
As of September 1, 2021, proAction requires traceability events to be recorded on-farm and reported to DairyTrace. Within the DairyTrace portal you can generate herd inventory reports. This can assist you in updating your current herd inventory of animals giving you an accurate and current list of animals on your premises. Contact DairyTrace Customer Services for assistance in bringing your herd inventory up to date at 1‐866‐55‐TRACE (1‐866‐558‐7223).
If you reside in Quebec, you will continue to order tags from Attestra. If you reside outside of Quebec, DairyTrace is your tag distributor.
For dairy producers and stakeholders outside the province of Québec, all dairy tags can be ordered through DairyTrace Customer Services at 1‐866‐55‐TRACE (1‐866‐558‐7223) or online through Holstein Canada’s website. Dairy producers living in Québec must continue to order their tags directly through customer services offered by Attestra.
Any calves born on farm and destined for purposes other than dairy production may be identified with a single RFID ear tag, except in provinces where double tagging is required. As of September 1, 2023 the allowable use of yellow button beef tags on dairy farms will be fully phased out. Calves born on a dairy farm destined for beef or veal production must be identified with approved white dairy tags (i.e. single button RFID tag or dual tag set). Dual tagging of all animals is always an option and is encouraged as a best practice.
Tags are part of an effective traceability system, which better protects and supports industry market access, competitiveness and consumer confidence. Dairy bovine tag numbers can easily be tracked in DairyTrace, which has the potential for value‐added opportunities in the future, including traceback.
Another very important change is the availability of a new white single button RFID tag for calves born on a dairy farm destined for beef or veal production born outside of Québec. This tag is allowable under proAction® requirements as an exception to dual tagging for identifying calves born on a dairy farm that are destined to leave the farm at a young age for purposes other than dairy production. As of September 1, 2023 the exception allowing these animals to have a yellow button tag applied at birth will be fully phased out.
All other animals on dairy farms across Canada must be double tagged.
In addition to the new DairyTrace website, mobile app, and on-line portal, there will be some changes to the branding on forms, tags and other materials.
Reporting has never been easier and you have several options. Our newly developed DairyTrace app, on-line portal, and other on‐farm herd management software programs, can provide the convenience of automated reporting.
For producers needing non-electronic options for reporting, paper forms can be downloaded from the DairyTrace web site or ordered from customer services and submitted to DairyTrace by mail, fax or email.
Other industry partners, such as breed associations, can also receive, send and report event information to the DairyTrace database on your behalf for registered animals. Alternatively, you can also report directly to DairyTrace by contacting our customer service center by mail, phone or email.
Before October 5, 2020, the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) was administered by the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), which was responsible for traceability information for dairy cattle outside of Québec. CCIA remains the responsible administrator for beef cattle, caprine, ovine, cervid and bison.
As the dairy industry has unique needs to that of the beef sector, Lactanet Canada is now the traceability administrator for dairy cattle. The vision of DairyTrace is that it includes all offspring born on a dairy farm, regardless of their sex, breed composition or end use. As of October 5, 2020, dairy producers outside of Québec will no longer submit traceability data to the CLTS but rather to DairyTrace.
Quebec has its own provincial traceability regulations, therefore if you live in Quebec, there is no change and you will continue to use SimpliTRACE. This data will be transferred to DairyTrace behind the scenes.
For our industry, livestock traceability is highly regulated. Government, farmers, and other industry stakeholders (processors, transporters, etc.) all have a role in ensuring that we can rapidly trace back any issue. As a result, there are certain time interval requirements for reporting events. For dairy farmers, these requirements are established by Dairy Farmers of Canada for its proAction® traceability module.
To summarize, dairy farmers must report within seven (7) days of the event occurring on their premises the following events:
|Tagging||Cross reference (previous tag number is known)||7 days|
|Tagging||Replacement (previous tag number is not known)||7 days|
|Movement||Move-out (currently optional but recommended)||7 days|
|Tag Retirement||On-farm disposal||7 days|
|Tag Retirement||Export||7 days|
Dairy farmers must report within 45 days of the event occurring on their premises the following event:
|Tagging||Tag activation / Birth||45 days|
Tag activation/birth must be reported sooner if the animal leaves the premises before 45 days of age. Event type reporting applies to both female and male animals.
A tag reissue event applies when a new replacement tag with the same tag number is reapplied to the appropriate animal’s ear. Upon feedback received from farmers, proAction® updated its requirements in 2021, for the reporting of tag reissue events within seven (7) days to be optional rather than mandatory. This change in reporting requirement does not apply in provinces where traceability regulations require reporting of tag reissue events, such as the province of Québec.
In the DairyTrace system, when a tag reissue is ordered, and the tag is reported as shipped, or when shipped to the farm, the tag number will automatically appear in the farmer’s tag inventory. After seven (7) days of appearing in the tag inventory, the associated tag reissue event will be automatically created. Farmers are still welcome, and encouraged, to report such reissue events themselves through their reporting methods. Dairy farmers affected by mandatory provincial reporting requirements must submit the tag reissue event within the time frame required.
Only registered animals have their tag activation/birth event automatically submitted to DairyTrace via the breed associations. For reporting compliance keep in mind the traceability time frame of 45 days after birth to report. Breed associations can also receive, send, and report other event information to the DairyTrace database on behalf of dairy farmers for registered animals. Alternatively, traceability events can be reported directly by contacting the DairyTrace customer service team by mail, phone, or email.
Lactanet has focused on the development of its herd management software solutions, such as DairyComp, to facilitate automatic recording and reporting of traceability events to the DairyTrace system. Currently, Lactanet field services related to milk recording do not include the transfer of traceability event data recorded on test day to the DairyTrace system. This is a project under development with a target implementation later in 2022.
Lactanet field services on test day commonly include the submission of tag data to breed associations as part of the electronic registration processes. Any successful herdbook registration resulting from such data submission does lead to the automatic transfer via breed associations for tag activation/birth events in the DairyTrace portal.
When an animal leaves your premise to another location in Canada, this is considered a move-out. Move-out event reporting is optional and is good practice. In fact, it is recommended since it will keep your herd inventory and additional DairyTrace reports up to date.
It should be noted that the reporting of a tag activation/birth event is required for all animals born on the farm to be compliant with proAction® reporting. This includes all bull and heifer calves, including dairy on beef crossbred calves that should ideally be identified with a white DairyTrace RFID tag.
On-farm disposal/tag retirement reporting confirms that an animal bearing the unique tag number has died on your premises. Additional information can be included with the tag retirement event, such as if the animal was buried or composted, for personal usage, or died by predation. Reporting on-farm disposal events confirms the animal is no longer active in the national traceability database.
If the animal is not disposed of on your premises, that is it went to a rendering plant and/or a deadstock collection centre, this is considered a move-out event. Reporting a move-out event is recommended. Also, when an animal leaves the premises for auction, it is considered a move-out event, which is recommended to report.
Animal movement is recorded by the change in premises identification (PID) numbers associated with the animal’s tag number, relative to the location of the animal, as well as the specific date and time of the change in location.
When using the DairyTrace portal or the newest version update of the mobile app to report a move-out event, you have the flexibility to enter either the address of the arrival premises, or its PID number.
If you are reporting through on-farm software, the fields for indicating the destination PID are generally not as flexible and a PID number is required to submit the move-out event. Overall, when an animal is moved to a new location outside of the farm operation, the PID number for the destination location will need to be provided.
When creating a DairyTrace account, users have the option to authorize that their PID(s) can be made available to other DairyTrace users for reporting traceability events. By authorizing your PID(s) for inclusion in the DairyTrace Public Premises Search tool, your PID number(s) will be searchable by other users. This will help to complete the reporting of movement events and improve the accuracy of the national traceability system.
To search for a PID using the online portal, click Premise, then Public Premises Search. Use the information pop-ups to assist in using the search tool. DairyTrace Customer Services is also available to assist you in your search of appropriate PID numbers. If the PID is not searchable in the DairyTrace portal, you will have to contact the previous owner/operator to obtain the appropriate PID number required for reporting all move-in events.
Once an animal’s move-in event is reported, the animal record associated with the tag will be moved out of your on-farm inventory in the DairyTrace system. You will NOT see the move-in event, but you may notice that the animal is no longer linked to the inventory of your premises. The animal is now under a new premises identification number in the DairyTrace system.
By reporting move-out events in your DairyTrace account, which is a recommended practice, this ensures your animal inventory is always up to date.
Certain on-farm herd management software tools have created a traceability module. This module within the software allows a direct connection to the DairyTrace portal for reporting. You can reach out to your on-farm software representative about solutions that support traceability requirements and any automated reporting of events to the DairyTrace system.
For users needing non-electronic options for reporting, DairyTrace Customer Services can assist you with your reporting needs. In addition to reporting by phone at 1‐866‐55‐TRACE (1‐866‐558‐7223), paper declaration forms can be downloaded from dairytrace.ca or requested from customer services. These paper forms can be submitted to DairyTrace by mail, fax or email (email@example.com).