In this modern era where digital communication and computers are inherent parts of our lives and our way of living, the prospects of animal identification are enormous. The first research about system identification was started in the 1970s and the first result was presented in the mid-70`s about a cow identification system (Rossing, 1999). Since then, this phenomenon has been developed and the performance of researchers has witnessed an extraordinary boost because this technology will enable the farmers and governments to be traced at the outbreak of disease.
Еlеctronic idеntification (ЕID) is a way of rеcognizing livеstock and is foundеd on a radio frеquеncy microchip, which can bе undеrstood by handhеld or fixеd tools; this shows thе еxclusivе individual animal rеcognition codе producеd by thе еlеctronic idеntifiеr. (DEFRA)
However, this project has negative as well as positive impacts on a number of aspects: for example, social life, culture and environment. Investigating all the aforementioned would require tremendous amount of resources – time and budget – which are not available for this project. The investigated questions are the same as the other project. So, this paper will focus on how the implementations will succeed.
- Literature review
Thе Unitеd Kingdom has a total shееp population of just undеr 35 million of which around half arе maturе brееding еwеs. Thеrе arе about 91,000 shееp producеrs applying divеrsе systеms of production to suit thе variеd topography and wеathеr of thе UK. Morе than 25% of land in thе Unitеd Kingdom is abovе 500m. Hill brееds makе up just about 50% of thе nationwidе flock and play a significant rolе in prеsеrving thе upland surroundings (DEFRA). From this number it would seem to become obvious that animal identification and monitoring systems represent a significant aspect in economic as well as cultural aspects, because this system may well affect a large segment of the society. So, there is an important question which is the significant factors which can help this system to be successful (Partington, 1996). One of these factors is economic reflection (Beynon-davies,2009) on how this system will be used – directly or indirectly – because any information system has the aim that means this will affect on how the system will work. After that, the project performance, according to Mitchell (2006), depends on three primary elements: firstly, system design; secondly methodology; thirdly, the system approach. If we examine the cost aspect, it is seen that farmers need to invest around £65 million when they want to tag ever single sheep in the UK (www.telegraph.co.uk). For instance, the NFU carried out a survey and they found that the cost for each single tag would be £ 1.50 and the reader will cost £350 minimum; with the common surveyed flock size almost 506, then 1.5*506=£759 .That would mean each farmer having to pay 350+759=£1 109 (www.nfuonline.com ). In the same way, this project will cost the government £1.7m and annually £827 000. Moreover, this will cost the industry £12.4 m for the equipment which is divided into two main section farmers: industry and abattoirs Also the annual cost will be £8.1 m. In the other words, this project will cost the government and industry on average an annual £5.27m for option one.
Option two will cost on average annually £9.39m; also, option three will cost £14.03m (DEFRA). On the specific business in the DEFRA project paper they compare several Severely Disadvantaged Area (SAD) farms (of 500 ewes) and medium sized lowland farm (of 275 ewes) (DEFRA).
Comparison of annual costs and cost per breeding ewe for two typical farm businesses.
|SDA Farm1||Lowland Farm2|
|Option 1||£635 p.a.|
(£1.27 per ewe)
4.4% of income
(£1.97 per ewe)
£5% of income
|Option 2||£793 p.a.|
(£1.59 per ewe)
5.5% of income
(£2.35 per ewe)
£5.8% of income
|Option 3||£1010 p.a.|
(£2.02 per ewe)
7% of income
(£2.92 per ewe)
10.7% of income
However, in the Spanish market the price for the tag is €2.2 (Saa, Milán, Caja and Ghirardi,2005). The total cost consists of three areas: tagging, reading equipment, and reading for movements (Joint Research Centre). The most inexpensive part is reading equipment: reading this represents four to thirteen percent, and then from twenty nine to forty percent for tagging the most costly part is reading equipment from forty nine to sexist five percent (Joint Research Centre).
Animal identification was specially developed to control animal movement and reduce the number of transponder: in the 80’s, in particular (Rossin,1999). EID’s main aim was, and is, to control diseases and sheep movement for the UK government:
“The UK’s stratified and extensive industry mean that sheep move more times on average during their lives than in other Member States. In 2005 over 1 million batch movements of sheep took place” (DEFR1).
In the training aspect, the cost will probably be at a high level because only around 5% of farmers are familiar with the technology (DEFRA1). In the same way, farmers did accept to implement this project because it will take, but also create, a significant percentage of income (www.BBC.com). In the same article the writer is not optimistic about this system: “Sheep tag cost will hit farmers”(www.BBC.com), which may make training more difficult to introduce and encourage than usual . According to the ADAS(2009) report, it is estimated that the training cost for all farmers to keep sheep will be £2,200,670.
On the other hand, EID will help to improve the market:
The English pilot in markets did show a benefit in cutting down the amount of paperwork over a manual system that recorded the individual identities of sheep passing through, but not over the existing arrangement where recording is done on a batch, and not an individual basis.
Elin Jones said ‘small but increasing number of farmer in Wales see the advantage that electric tagging could offer their business’. (www.BBC.com).
Case study (IT connect)
This report aims to address Michele Gildernew MP MLA minister of Agriculture and Rural Development booklet entitled ‘Farmers’ experiences from the increasing Access of ICT scheme’ which gives an outline on the scheme while showing how six very different farm businesses benefited from using new ICT. It started in 2001 when the Department of Agriculture and Rural development introduced a report entitled ‘Vision for the Future’ which contained many recommendations, among which is a need for the Agri-food industry to develop and benefit from greater and more effective use of ICT. From this, the ICT scheme was introduced and its management was given to the college of Agriculture food and Rural Enterprise (CARFE). The scheme aimed to promote and support 800 farm businesses and share the result across the whole industry. The scheme ran between 2004 and 2007 and over 950 farms businesses from across the industry sectors assessed new technologies. The scheme evaluated 37 new technologies solutions, and extracted from it those that showed potential after being placed on a number of farmers to establish the business benefits in a wide range of situations. At the end of the trial, only twelve broad categories of ICT solution passed the assessment which was expected as these businesses usually have more information to collect and analyze for management purposes.
PDA and internet based herd Management system technology was placed with Gavin Graham, a North Antrim dairy farmer. The heard management farmer was new to technology that facilitated through software the production and fertilizing record. This has help him manage his 140 cow herd because the system had a link with the animal and public health information system (APHIS) and was also linked with their online record. Being the first to use the technology Gavin imputed all his heats and services, calvings, as well as all his farm qualities. In time, this information was automatically uploaded into the PDA and internet based system herd management when he connected the PDA to his computer. PDA and herd Management software was then placed with Mr Robbert, a pig farmer from Bullynure, Co. The system facilitated full analysis of performance of his herd including conception and forwarding rates after first having to use the PDA to input all his record event data when it happened in his pig unit. On the other hand, nursery grower Doug Thomson from Seaford tried out the online market technology working in a very competitive business operating in a global market. Using a website, Grover could place his range online and develop brochures that could be emailed to all his customers. This was done through the creation of a market system based on digital cameras along with Adobe-reader, making it easier to zip the large quantity of brochures and help find new customers who could, after viewing the brochures, place an order by return email. The electronic identification system was tried with Nicola Beavers, who manages a flock of 250 ewes at her farm in England, and the key note for her was the fact that the new technology allowed information such as weight, drug treatment and body size to be recorded for each animal. Gerard and Claire Collins who runs a boiler breeding flock on their farm near Lisnaskea tried out the UMPC and communication technology by keeping records of their production, including the temperature on the house, the consumption of food feed and water, and the number of eggs laid. The UMPC and communications technology facilitated and made available useful information through a database use of mobile PCs while the farmers walked around the park houses.
It becomes obvious from the literature review that the new technologies for computer and information systems managers play a fundamental role in the implementation of technology within their organization (Blais,1996). Computer and information systems managers plan, coordinate, and direct research and facilitate the computer-related activities of firms .EID is a socio technology of a type which is more useful than usual systems because this mixes between human activity and information systems (Alter, 1999). From an economic aspect, we can see that this system has advantages and disadvantages for farmers – depending on context – and the government as well. However, the major difference between farmers and government is that the former group are mostly against this system, whereas the latter encourages this system because they know the benefit, despite some political fury (Business.scotsman.com) because not all EU members have implemented this technology, for one thing. In this problem I am optimistic because it easy to solve from the government if see to the main problem for the farmers is centered on the cost, so my suggestion the United Kingdom government give the farmers the equipment as pension ,this well reduce the total cost for the farmers .
But from the implantation options the first option will be more efficient than option two, and three as well. The implementation consultant’s view about this situation is a small benefit when compared with the high price (DEFRA1).
Creating new jobs
EID will create new jobs in several areas, and one of the largest areas too, but how exactly? According to the literature review, there are only around 5% now who are familiar with this system and that means the need to have training. This system will be a complex system that means there is a need to have a special supplier for this system and for its maintenance too. This system also has to be IT firm as evidence for this in Kuang, Wagner and Poon ,2001 identify the system training as one of the primary successful factors under vendor selection and support . Some projects need to have some outside experienced people involved (Sumner ,1999).
The system will improve the decision with effect on management and businesses because they will use a central database in this system (DEFRA). According to my experience, I was in a data ware house department which is part of IT departments, and this type of database is very good to help those who want and need to make a decision because of this system analysis. The type which had the highest level in information system is called decision support system (Beynon-davies,2009). This type of information is useful for the government and farmers as well to have a clear vision about the future.
Path stolen sheep Chief Inspector Steve says, it’s a good idea and could reduce thefts which have totalled £200,000 in 2004, because from this system now it can be easily know who the sheep’s owner from the tag.
Over all benefits (IT connect)
Having briefly explained and discussed the different technologies, this section aims to analyze the benefit extracted from this scheme while at the same time making recommendations. A vast amount of money has been spent on trying this scheme and looking at the overall benefit we can see quite a few of the farmers have a positive view of the new technology. One of these is the cutting down on paper work, because before using PDA and internet based herd management, farmers such as Gavin had to use a huge amount of paper to help him keep a record of his 140 cows. While Doug the nursery farmer says the new zapp program has provided him the benefit of satisfied customers. Robberts was very happy with the PDA and herd management system software making it easier for him to make quick decisions. Cutting the amount of paperwork proved to be most beneficial outcome of this scheme, as Nicola Beavers explains how simple it was to trace without paperwork with the electronic identification system. On top of that, the scheme improved links in the chain for Gerard who tried out the UMPC and communication technology. Although the number of farmers representing feedback are limited in number, we can conclude the scheme was overall a success. What we take from this for the future is that ICT is continuously changing and new technology solutions are emerging, providing better solutions in many fields. Therefore, such schemes should not only been increased, but also expanded to benefit other sectors in the future, especially those that were not selected for further evaluation. The number of benefits for the overall industry are huge, as ICT technology changed the way we work today.
To conclude this paper, it can be said that EID is a complicated system and this project will affect both the government and farmers. However, the government is more confident about the system advantages, whereas farmers are not optimistic about the system because most of them have said the disadvantages outweigh the advantage. From the economic advantage perspective, it can be seen that this system will create good job opportunities, and make analysis of information easier than the current system now, saving farmers’ time.
However, the disadvantages of this project will take around 40 % from farmers’ income and the government needs to invest around £1.7m and annually £827k option one; system implantation experts believe this option has better overall performance when they compare between the price and benefits.
My recommendations about the future for EID system is that this system will have great success in the near future for farmers, and that the advantages of this system will become clearer in time because they have not been fully recognized the advantage yet.
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- ADAS.(2009) Training needs to support the implementation of electronic identification of sheep in England, Ref: RMP1967