As producers move to adopt electronic animal identification, their investment exceeds the cost of ear tags alone.

Readers, software and labor add to the total outlay for an ID system, but the cost per head can vary considerably depending on the type of operation and number of animals involved. Kansas State University provides a downloadable Excel spreadsheet titled “Estimating Costs of Radio Frequency Identification Systems,” which allows producers to enter their own information and calculate costs specific to their operations. To access the spreadsheet, go to http://beefstockerusa.org/rfid/.