One of the pillars of Alberta’s traceability system is animal movement tracking. Together with Animal Identification and Premises Identification (PID), animal movement provides the ability to trace where an animal has been and what animals it has come in contact with over the course of its life.
In the case of feeder cattle, Alberta’s feedlot owners contribute to the overall traceability of beef cattle by tracking the movement of cattle entering their facilities. Feedlots trace individual animals by electronically reading a unique Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) approved radio frequency identification (RFID) tag attached to each animal that enters the feedlot.
“It is now over a year since traceability and reporting obligations for feedlots in Alberta changed,” says Rick Frederickson, senior manager in the traceability division of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD).
“We felt it was a good time to remind feedlot owners about the regulatory changes, but also about the financial assistance that ARD has made available to help them meet their obligations.”
Traceability and reporting obligations for feedlots are governed by the Traceability Cattle Identification Regulation, which came into force on March 1.
“The update of the regulation in 2010 resulted in two main changes to traceability obligations for feedlots,” says Frederickson. “Most significantly, the regulation has a wider impact and now applies to feedlots feeding 1,000 or more head annually instead of the 5,000 head threshold under the previous regulation. Also, under the previous regulation, both ‘move-in’ and ‘move-out’ reporting of feeder cattle was required. Now the feedlot owner is only required to track the ‘move-in’ events, and report them to the CCIA.”
The regulation applies to feedlots and does not apply to cow-calf operations.
Feedlot owners are required to identify all cattle entering into the feedlot within seven days by recording and reporting the premises identification number of the feedlot and the approved tag number and move-in date for each animal that enters their feedlot.
“To assist feedlots with move-in reporting requirements, ARD continues to offer financial support to buy the RFID reader equipment and uploading software,” says Frederickson. “The funding assistance is provided under a Growing Forward program known as the RFID Technology Assistance Program.”