Investing in EID Hardware like stick readers or weigh heads can be expensive. There’s no doubt the investment can really help your farm operation, but with so many on the market, which one should you choose?
To help you out, we’ve taken a look at some of the best EID hardware options on the market.
The Tru-Test XRS2 stick reader features a vibrant, sunlight-viewable colour LCD screen for easy reading and an alpha-numeric keypad for flexible data entry. Capture animal data in up to 15 custom fields and set alerts to quickly identify which animals need culling or treatment. And with Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily link the reader to your weigh scale indicator or smartphone.
The Tru-Test XRS2 is one of the more popular stick readers, although it’s not one of the cheapest. We like it for its ease in connecting to software and it feels really robust. It has a good reach on it for using in any cattle crush. On the downside it is quite heavy, so after a while, you may feel the consequences. The display could be upgraded a bit but it’s still readable, even after getting muddy.
Buy this for: The convenience of wide availability for purchase, and an easy setup.
With its unique pistol-grip design, the Gallagher HR5 V2 (only available in Australia at the moment) reads multiple tags in quick succession with one trigger click. Its large colour screen and alpha-numeric keypad make it easy to immediately record, edit, and apply custom data against EID records. Choose up to nine traits, such as breed, sex, condition score and pregnancy status, to record against an animal each session. Automatically link mothers with their newborns and add birthing details such as sex, birthing ease and fate.
Our verdict: It’s definitely lighter weight, but the design of this stick reader means it isn’t as easy to swing under your arm as the more traditional stick shape. Gallagher says this is a safety feature, but we did find it a bit cumbersome. Some of the buttons are quite fiddly, but it was incredibly easy to connect with software like AgriWebb.
Buy this for: The ease of adding records, notes and updating tag numbers.
The Agrident AWR300 is big on memory and battery life. It stores up to one million records and has an exchangeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 12 hours in continuous read mode. It has a large colour display screen and a flashing light that confirms a successful tag read. You can link offspring to parents and record weights and treatments. There is also a function to review an animal’s history.
The Agrident AWR3000 looks like a serious bit of kit in its casing. We really liked the fact it was light and our arms didn’t get tired when managing a lot of livestock in one go. It definitely has a more colourful display than some of the other stick readers, although can’t really say that this is a critical feature. That said, we did find the display a lot brighter and easier to use than some.
Buy this for: It’s lightness to hold and bright display, plus the ease of seeing animal history and offspring at a glance.
The stick reader is a streamlined unit operated by a single button, available in three lengths – 45cm, 58cm and 80cm. The screen displays the tag number, management group, and count of animals read. It can store data for up to 16,000 animals and 26 management groups. The SDL440S connects to both Android and Apple devices for management and data collection.
This is a real tried and true stick, and if you have Gallagher software, it makes sense. That said, Shearwell sticks do integrate with other livestock management software, including AgriWebb. Just don’t expect to get as much out of this stick as some of the others available.
Buy this for: Simplicity.
The Allflex RS420 has a large backlit screen for easy reading in sunlight or darkness. The display shows animal ID in large, easy-to-read numbers. At the same time, a vibration, audible beep and flashing green light confirms a tag read. Its long-life battery charges in less than three hours and runs for eight hours in continuous reading mode. The Allflex RS420 NFC stick reader provides all the functionality of the standard RS420 as well as the ability to read Allflex eSense and cSense tags.
This is easy to use and connect via Bluetooth. It’s also one of the cheaper sticks to invest in if you’re just getting started or have a smaller operation. The downside is that it doesn’t come with all the functionality of some of the pricier options.
Buy this for: It’s two-step set-up. It is easy to use. However, you won’t have the data storage and analysis possibilities than with some of the other models.
The lightning-fast Tru-Test XRP2 panel reader can read more than 1000 tags per minute. Re-tuning up to 18 times per second ensures consistent, accurate tag reads throughout your weigh session. Quickly and easily record EID tags into a session file or send them to your weigh scale indicator for individual animal weights and other information.
With built-in Bluetooth, you can effortlessly connect the reader to your Android smartphone for even more flexibility.
We found this panel reader fairly easy to set up and connect to hardware, so we really liked it. On the other hand, we did struggle sometimes to connect it to software when we were also using a stick reader in the same area; the system got a bit confused. But nothing that switching it on and off again didn’t fix!
Buy this for:
The support available online and easy of set up.
Weigh Scales Indicators
The Tru-Test XR5000 weigh scales indicator is a reliable choice for capturing animal weights whilst managing data in rugged and rough farming environments. Store up to 1 million records in 1000 weighing sessions and record up to 100 pieces of information for each animal. It has a range of features to calculate and visualise performance of individual animals or groups and up to 10-way drafting by any criteria.
We found the XR5000 to be robust and worked well. It seemed to be accurate in capturing data, and it captured it quickly. The panel can get tricky to read as soon as it gets a bit mucky, but we found that with a lot of the readers.
Buy this for: It’s popularity: there is a lot of support and tutorials out there for when things don’t quite go to plan.
Able to store over two million records, the Te Pari T30 scale indicator gives you flexibility and reliability. The waterproof device has a large touchscreen display with various layout options. You can look quickly at weight gain data or a complete animal history to simplify crush-side drafting decisions. Also, the unit connects and auto-calibrates with Te Pari Dosing Guns for precision treatment delivery. The T30 E-Series scale adds a built-in EID reader control unit into the same plastic case.
Sharing the performance data on the dashboard is great and works with both Mac and PC systems.
Buy this for: On the spot assistance via remote tech, and an incredible two million record storage capacity. It’s available in a standard model, or the E series which includes a built-in EID reader.
Integrated EID readers
The Gallagher TWR-5 is an all-in-one solution for weighing, data collection, and EID tag reading. This versatile tool simplifies the weighing process, making it easier than ever to collect animal data. Beyond weight, record up to 9 extra pieces of animal data, such as condition score or medication doses. The touchscreen weigh scale makes it easy to analyse animal data crush side and record treatments or animal notes on the spot. And with the TWR-5 can also drive an automatic drafting gate – you can draft up to 9 groups by weight, weight gain, predetermined EID list, life data or traits.
This is a pricey investment and worth it if you are a larger operation with lots of metrics to track. However, for smaller operations, it might take a while to get a return on investment. That said, the all-in-one approach will be an efficient one.
Buy this for:
Being really data and analysis-focussed with your operation.
Getting the most from your EID hardware
AgriWebb turns the data you collect through EID hardware into actionable insights that can lead to more profitable, sustainable farm businesses. Contact your local AgriWebb team to learn more.
Which hardware works with AgriWebb?:
We’re updating the list all the time, but here is where you can find AgriWebb’s current compatible hardware options.