Pros and cons of EID reading equipment

As EID legislation becomes part of the day-to-day management of a flock, farmers are being encouraged to implement EID flock recording systems and use this data to aid management decisions.

Sion Ifans of the Technology, Agriculture and Greater Efficiencies (TAG) project, Wales, details the pros and cons of EID equipment

See also: Eblex innovation grant on offer

Stick reader




  • Collects a list of EID tag numbers to be either imported through Bluetooth or USB cable into a PC spreadsheet, farm software or straight to a mobile printer
  • Creates a list of EID tag numbers meeting legal regulations such as movement records and deaths
  • Groups of sheep can be created on some stick readers, but only as a list of certain animals


  • No animal history can be viewed
  • Can’t link EID tag numbers to events such as lambings, weighings or
  • Doesn’t generate detailed flock reports

Psion hand-held readers

Psion-hand-held-EID-reader(mobile computer, £1,100-£1,500 including farm software)


  • Links with farm computer software to create detailed flock reports in relation to flock performance, such as lamb DLWG throughout the season or identifying high-output ewes
  • Runs on a Microsoft system
  • Includes farm software on the reader and computer
  • Provides large amounts of flock data in relation to performance recording and legal requirements
  • Animal history can be viewed in the field while working with the flock
  • Connects with an electronic weigh head via Bluetooth or cable


  • Large size will not fit into a pocket
  • Can be the most costly option

Data logger




  • Can do all of tasks of a stick reader plus records additional flock management data – farm software permitting
  • Records EID tag numbers and can link them to lambing and weighing events
  • Generates basic flock reports


  • No animal history can be viewed on the reader

Farm software apps




  • Used on Apple, Android or Blackberry operating systems
  • Gathers simple to complex flock data –including legal data
  • Works with stick readers
  • Connects with an electronic weigh head via Bluetooth or cable
  • Operates on a cloud server system.
  • Can be used offline


  • An internet connection is required to update the farm software with information gathered offline
  • Two hands may be needed to hold the EID reader and smartphone/tablet

TAG project

The TAG project along with over 80 Welsh sheep flocks has implemented EID flock recording methods and technologies on Welsh farms.

It has a database available to any UK sheep farmer to view their own flock information. This includes individual lamb slaughter data from Randel Parker Foods, LLanidloes and Dunbia, Llanybydder and flock KPI’s.

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