Welcome to the CCIA Research page. This section is designated to advanced research and innovation pieces conducted by CCIA or partnering organizations. Here you can find the full reports from comprehensive traceability studies conducted across the globe – both past and present. Get a better understanding of the rigorous testing involved in the approval process of traceability technology and learn how tags go from an idea to an approved product, used everyday by producers.

This project was developed by the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) and funded in part by the AgriAssurance Program - National Industry Association Component under the funding agreement entitled "Canadian Livestock Industry Traceability Movement Data", grant number CAP-AAPN-073.

The primary goal of the project was to demonstrate the suitability of automated data reporters (scanners / dataloggers) to collect and report traceability events across a number of co-mingling settings in Canada. This test equipment would record livestock movement events and report them directly to a project server, and ultimately to the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS). The quality of data captured would measure the accuracy of the reporting and allow for respective recommendations to industry on the future adoption of automated event capture.

A copy of the report summary can be found here.

In Traceability Project 030452 we studied the use of portable RFID reader stations, to collect sighted movement event data at remote co-mingling sites. Each reader was portable, battery-operated and solar charged. The devices could store and communicate data using cellular modems to deliver data to a CCIA landing server. The pasture Readers were designed to survive harsh outdoor conditions and remain functional without human intervention. The readers were placed in a variety of locations to sample commercial and purebred cattle holdings in remote areas. Sighted events are the collection of a unique animal identification number, a unique location and the time/date of the collection which is a snapshot of the animal data at that moment.

The readers were placed along mineral/salt feeders, which draw in the animals and then automatically scans their tag. The more times an animal appears, the more data is updated and the more we can determine, such as animals co-mingling patterns. The Readers were designed to capture basic Sighted data; including Time, Date, Tag # and location.

This project was a great way to prove the legitimacy and dependability of the equipment and technology. It raises a set of new policy and technical questions to be considered. We can now confirm the value of autonomous pasture readers as a proven data collector of Sighted events. We intend to continue to refine and extend our results to support a broader network of pasture Reader equipment.

This project was funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Growing Forward 2.

To read the complete study click here.

In Traceability Project 031350 we had the opportunity to study sheep movement data, collected over the course of a year through a bona fide traceability system. The data was kindly shared with us from the Scottish Electronic ID authority (ScotEID), which is considered gold standard coming from a bona fide traceability program. We were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to have access to actual data from such a quality system. Sheep movement in Scotland is relatively similar to cattle movement in Canada and we felt this was a good fit to use to test the theory of using sighted event data in a traceability system.

When analyzing the data, we quickly learned that roughly 30% was actually considered Sighted rather than movement reporting.

Sighted Reporting = used to report the identification of an approved animal indicator applied to an animal that has been observed at a defined location on a defined day.

Movement Reporting = Animals would travel with a movement document; the destination site would be responsible for reporting the arrival of animals (with some exceptions).

We were able to establish that Sighted data can still be incredibly valuable, and movement reporting is not always 100% necessary. Sighted reporting can help us better understand the movement of an animal within our supply chain without the additional steps it can take to complete a full movement report. This report proves the tangible value of sighted reporting and its functionality within a gold standard system.

Project was funded by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

To read the complete study click here.

Canadian Cattle Identification Agency’s (CCIA) Cattle Implementation Plan (CIP) Committee and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) worked together to form a CIP sub-committee to complete a tag retention study in a variety of environments in Canada as a way of better determining the long-term retention rates and operability of the current set of approved CCIA radio frequency identification (RFID) beef cattle tags used in Canada to address the following issues:

  • Industry’s growing concerns regarding the effective­ness and long-term viability of the types of approved tags available, and the fixture mechanisms commonly used to manufacture tags for Canada, and
  • Poor tag retention within the value chain affects the accuracy and availability of livestock traceability data, which affects response time in an emergency (e.g., animal disease outbreak, flood, tornado, contaminated feed supplement recall).

The National Tag Retention Project was funded through support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, CCIA received funding through the Assurance Stream of the Agri-Marketing program under Growing Forward 2, a federal/provincial/territorial agreement, to complete the final two years of the study.

Click to view FINAL REPORT

Click to view POSTER

Study of radio frequency identification systems at livestock auction markets across Canada (Phase One) – 2010

The project installed eight new RFID systems from three manufacturers at both the receiving area and the sale ring (both before and after) and collected data from one pre-existing system. Custom software was developed for the test environment that collected the tag numbers from the RFID readers for data evaluation and submission of reports to the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS). The RFID system configurations were: single alley, dual alley and wide alley. Data was collected throughout eleven weeks from October 5 to December 20, 2009 from 144,197 head of cattle in 31,376 groups.

The key findings were:

  1. The location of the system has more impact on business process and speed of commerce than the style of alley configuration. Systems experienced up to 1.5 hours per day impact on speed of commerce. Facilities with systems either before or after the sale ring experienced a marginal impact of 2 to 14 minutes per sale.
  2. Systems at the sale ring had a higher read accuracy than systems at receiving. This is due to smaller groups moving through the systems, resulting in less data collision. At receiving, cattle may arrive untagged and move through the scanning alleys before retagging, therefore reducing read accuracy.
  3. A 93% global read accuracy was achieved. However, daily reads were between 86 to 99%. Read rates fluctuate daily based on tags, environmental factors and animal behavior.
  4. Single alley systems are the least expensive configuration. They had the highest read accuracy but the greatest impact on speed of commerce. Read accuracy ranged between 96 to 99%.
  5. Dual alley systems are mid-priced and had a lower read accuracy than single systems. They also had less impact on speed of commerce. Read accuracy ranged between 86 to 93%.
  6. Wide alley systems had a high read accuracy (96%) in smaller groups of 1 to 5 animals. As the group size increased from 6 to 10 the read accuracy decreased to 93%. These systems were located both before and after the sale ring and had little to no impact on the speed of commerce.
  7. Each facility has a unique process flow and design. As such, each RFID system must be configured to fit within the cattle flow. This minimized the impact on speed of commerce and achieved a reasonable read accuracy.

This applied research project was funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Growing Forward program, to research the impact of implementation of RFID systems at livestock auction markets in Canada in support of movement tracking.


Click to view FINAL REPORT

Study of radio frequency identification systems at livestock auction markets across Canada (Phase Two) – 2011

Phase Two advanced the evaluation of RFID systems by integrating the tag collection and reporting software with the enterprise software. This integration enabled the tag numbers to be recorded on consigner and buyer invoices as well as settlement documentation. In some cases, it also provided age verification information to buyers. Two new RFID hardware configurations were added: the four-panel wide alley system and a dual alley multi-lane system along with a long-handled wand application. The project duration was 30 weeks from September 2010 to March 2011, scanning 107,423 groups with 393,474 head of cattle. The integrated systems were evaluated using three metrics:

  1.   Impact on speed of commerce (efficiency);
  2.   Software efficiency and effectiveness of capturing and reporting tag numbers; and
  3.   Weekly and global read accuracy (effectiveness).

Further evaluation:

  1.   Identified if there was any potential for business value creation at the operational level.
  2.   Determined if RFID systems had the potential to cause employee and animal injury or illness.
  3.   Documented the capital, operating and ongoing cost of administration and maintenance associated with utilizing technology to collect and report RFID tag numbers to support traceability as per the Canadian Cattle Industry’s National Animal Movement Plan for the livestock markets segment.

This multi-phase applied research project was funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Growing Forward program, to research the impact of implementation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems at livestock auction markets in Canada in support of movement tracking.


Click to view FINAL REPORT

Study of bypass software for use with RFID systems at auction markets and buying stations in Canada (Phase Two-B) – 2011

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency sponsored a multi-phase research project to evaluate the impact of RFID systems at auction markets and buying stations. The first two phases of the research evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of the hardware, and then evaluated the different options for recording and reporting software. This report details with the final phase of the research, studying bypass software for tag recording and reporting.

The variable in the RFID system is the type of software used to record and report the tag numbers. Each facility is unique in its business process and flow of cattle. As such, there is no one standard software or hardware solution. Three variations of tag recording software were evaluated in Phase Two. Option One reflects the processes used in Phase One, Option Two reflects the process from Phase Two and Option Three reflects a hybrid of both phases that was further tested in Phase Two-B. The Phase Two report details that Option Two software (integrated with management systems) has the highest impact on speed of commerce, costs and labor requirements. It also concluded that when evaluating a single movement report without consigner or group information, it is evident that Option Three (stand alone or bypass software) has the least impact and least cost to industry. The only data recorded under an Option Three scenario is the total number of tag numbers scanned in one day; there is no listing of consigner or group number.

As a result of promising results using Option Three in Phase Two, further testing of the bypass system was recommended. Six of the original test sites volunteered to continue testing basic functionality software that bypassed the enterprise systems, to record animal movement over a 24-hour period rather than in individual groups/lots. The test sites used the hardware from Phase Two, but changed all software to a bypass system, loaded on a laptop or an office computer. One report was generated with the total number of head through the system in one day, without detailing the consigner or number in the group. The test took place at six auction markets for a 15-week period from the first of September to the end of November 2011. A total of 118,200 head of cattle were scanned over 15 weeks.

This applied research project was funded through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Growing Forward program.


Click to view FINAL REPORT

This report is the output of a project commissioned by the CCIA called Literature Review and Technology Readiness Assessment of Ultra High Frequency radio frequency radio identification to Canadian Livestock applications. The goal of this project was to perform a scientific literature driven technology readiness assessment of ultra high frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID) systems for use in Canadian livestock identification program.

A comprehensive search and screening of peer reviewed scientific literature was undertaken. The results of the search were qualified and provided a synthesized response on technology readiness and conclusions regarding the use of the technology with Canadian livestock identification.

This project: Literature review and technology readiness assessment of ultra-high frequency RFID in Canadian Livestock Applications was completed with support of the livestock industry and funding by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Canadian Cattle Association, and Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.

To read the complete study click here.

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