All calves born on dairy farms across Canada are identified with a unique 15-digit ear tag that begins with the numbers “124”. This number stays with the animal for its entire life, meets international ISO standards, and is recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The ultimate goal of DairyTrace is double tagging of all dairy animals. Tagging your calves at birth provides an efficient way to permanently identify the animal with a unique number. Dual tag sets are comprised of an RFID electronic tag, ideally placed in the right ear of the animal, and a secondary panel tag placed in the left ear. This safeguard ensures that if an animal loses one tag, they can still be identified with another, as well as having the capability to work with RFID technology and electronic tag readers.
New to DairyTrace
While dual tagging is optimal, DairyTrace has introduced a white single button RFID tag that may be used to identify calves born on a dairy farm that are destined to leave the farm at a young age for purposes other than dairy production. (*not applicable in Québec)
Recording & Reporting
- All newborn animals – male or female – are recorded on-farm and then reported to the DairyTrace system;
- Premises ID, the 15-digit ear tag ID, and the animal’s date of birth are required;
- All calves are tagged and recorded on-farm within seven (7) days of birth or before the animal leaves the farm of origin, whichever comes first;
- Tags must be reported to DairyTrace within 45 days of the animal’s birth, or before the animal leaves the farm of origin, whichever occurs first;
- It is recommended to activate the tags the same day that you apply the tags to the animal to ensure that the traceability chain can begin;
- Tagging for stillborn calves is not required if they are disposed of on-farm, however, tagging is required if they are leaving the farm to go to a rendering facility (who will record and report the tag retirement) – in either scenario, the animals need to be recorded and reported.
Tag placement is important to long-term retention. Placing tags in the slightly thicker and tougher part of the calf’s ear ensures a tighter fit and reduces snags, while allowing animal growth. To ensure facilities remain animal-friendly, eliminate catch or rub points.
- Record the tag number you are about to install along with the animal’s data (date of birth, sex and premises ID).
- Install the electronic button tag in the animal’s right ear and the visual tag in the left ear.
- Positioned both tags close to the head in the first third (1/3) of the ear and between the two ribs (cartilage bands) of the ear.
- The female part of the tag (black cap) sits at the front of the ear and the male part (the stem), at the back.
- Use the Green Pin in the applicator.
- Between each tagging, disinfect the applicator with an antiseptic solution.
- For re-tagging, it is better to use a new hole.
- If a tag from your unused inventory shatters or breaks, put it aside and use another tag. Report the tag numbers involved to DairyTrace customer service.
Tag retirement confirms that the animal bearing the unique identification number has died or been exported and no longer needs to remain active in the national traceability system. Knowing that an ID number is retired saves valuable response time during an emergency.
Tag retirement must be recorded on-farm and reported to DairyTrace within seven (7) days of the event. If the tagged animals have died and are disposed of off-farm the rendering facility will report the retirement.
Properly double tagged dairy animals can move off farm anywhere at any time, however, when an animal loses their tag it must be replaced.
- If the same tag number can immediately be re-ordered, reporting is required once applied. Write the number on a generic tag (photo or sketch) until the replacement is received and can be attached.
- Replacements are free in all provinces except for animals originating from Quebec.
- If an animal is re-tagged with a NEW number, recording and reporting is necessary within seven (7) days and will be cross-referenced to the previous ID in the DairyTrace system.
- If the animal is American, imported from the United States, the lost US “840” tag must be cross referenced with the Canadian “124” number and both numbers must be reported to DairyTrace.
“840” electronic dairy ear tags for animals born in the U.S. are acceptable forms of identification for animals imported from the United States into Canada. Canadian “124” tags are not required unless the animal loses its tag.
In addition to software solutions, like DairyComp and Lac-T, that can record and automatically report traceability data to DairyTrace, our partners can also help. For example, if you register your calf with your breed association, ideally before 45 days old, they can automatically activate the tag and report the animal for you as they record it into the Herdbook. Furthermore, if a registered animal is imported to Canada from the U.S., the owner can also ask the breed association to report the import and movement events AND also transfer herdbook data from the U.S. at the same time, to be able to register future progeny.
Quick and Easy Tutorials
We’ve got quick 1-2 minute easy step-by-step video tutorials to help you navigate through the DairyTrace portal. Learn how to activate tags, submit tag replacements, report tag retirements and more!