There are two key measures to good tag retention says Ben Bartlett, Michigan State University livestock specialist.

The first is proper tag insertion. The tag should be inserted with the male part on the back of the ear and the female part on the inside of the ear. The proper location is in the middle one-third of the ear between the cartilage ribs and blood vessels. “The tamper-proof tags insert harder and you need to make sure the tag pliers are fully closed. You may need to secure the head to make sure you get it done right,” Dr. Bartlett says. He adds that it is helpful to keep tags warm so that they will go together easier.

The other key to tag retention is cutting twine on round bales. Twine can get caught on the tags causing them to loosen or be completely removed. “It is extra effort, but it is vital that you at least cut round bale strings at both 3 and 9 o’clock positions.