Mandatory EID Is Coming, Are You Prepared?

VIC has done it, other states are thinking it, everybody is talking about it and we are all wondering when the headline is going to appear in the papers. We all know mandatory EID is coming at some point, so what are you going to do when that happens? It could be tomorrow… so how can that be a positive? If you are a sheep breeder completely new to EID, or maybe you are a little bit down the track, then we encourage you to read on.

If you were to see the headline “EID Mandatory for all Livestock” in the paper tomorrow, does that bring excitement or apprehension to the front of your mind?

For many, it would incite a sense of fear that yet another yearly cost will be lumped upon them. What do we do with this cost!? There are extra reporting requirements now! Not to mention the feeling that if you’re going to try and turn it into an investment that means going down this whole ‘technology’ pathway! Don’t they understand that it’s not as easy as just forking out the money and banging a tag in the ear!?

If you are reactive, apprehensive, anxious or angry, then we invite you to be curious for the next few minutes.

Luckily for you, we have seen this happen before with Victoria. We saw the decision come, then all of the anger and frustration that followed by victorian farmers. Some succeeded, many didn’t, and many still just have the tags burning a hole in their wallet each year. We speak with hundreds of farmers a year, and many of them are from Victoria, and through helping them remove the barriers that often come with implementing technology the wrong way, we have turned that anger into excitement, and technology into their best friend. Now, they are grateful that mandatory EID happened and wished they had done it sooner.

With the right system and the right support, you should be excited about EID and what it can bring you, and you could even consider getting ahead of the eventuality and start now so you don’t have to wait for it to be something that the government has told you to do… nobody likes that!

Technology can be your biggest friend or your worst enemy, and just like you can’t reap before you sow, you cannot get the benefits of EID without the proper steps in place. So what are those steps? What does somebody have to do that has never even tagged a sheep with an EID to be successful and have EID work for them?

Before we go straight to the conclusion, we have to first lay out the common pathway that many take, and often times this journey for breeders is futile. This is your opportunity to avoid this pathway, but if you are on it, it’s also a chance to get off at the next stop and change your direction.

Here are all the potential pieces and decisions that you could be looking to pull together over the journey of progression toward an elite, data-driven breeding operation:

  • Tagging conventions
  • EID tags
  • Software for individual animal management (not mobs)
  • Excel
  • Computer
  • Stick Reader
  • Autodrafter
  • Fleeceweigh Scales (if wool focussed)
  • Hardware Training and Support
  • Software Training and Support
  • Data management
  • Data recording advice
  • Sheep Genetics ASBV support

That is a lot of pieces and a lot of decisions that need to be made at each point. Of the 13 pieces, you could see yourself dealing with 8-10 different companies! Too often, the discussion around the place is centred around collecting data because ‘that is what you need to make money’.

So off you go, and start buying bits and pieces off of the above list with the aim of collecting some data. The reality is… for many breeders…. this leads to massive headaches, data everywhere but nowhere, and a clunky system that leaves you consistently wondering where your data is and why you can’t make decisions easily! Why is this?

Because the conversation is being focused around COLLECTING data, instead of USING data, there is no structured way to implement these pieces, and farmers often just buy the next piece without the understanding of how that effects the system overall. Collecting data costs you money; making selection, breeding and management decisions using data is where it turns into money. You need a system that allows these decisions to come easily!

Every piece you add, the more complex your system gets, the harder it becomes to bring data together to make decisions, and the more technical and embedded in the puzzle you have to get!

Unfortunately, then you’re left to try and work the whole pieced together system in an attempt to run your breeding operation with data, forever stuck in transferring session files, collating excel sheets, looking up tag numbers, remembering how to use multi-layered software, going back to notebooks, making sure data is up to date in 5 different places, hiring in data managers in an attempt to regain control, bouncing between software and hardware companies and still not having anyone on the other end of the phone that can tell you how to do something that involves many of those pieces!

This is why tech gets such a bad wrap with sheep breeders… it’s just too hard sometimes.

We spoke with hundreds of breeders when starting the business, and the number one gripe that they had was that there wasn’t a single, supported system built from the ground up for breeders that enabled them to focus on actually breeding sheep and making good data-backed decisions and not on being a tech guru. So that is what we set out to do. You keep your focus on the outcomes of the technology and making decisions, we will be your tech and data team if and when you need us. Simple! Now, instead of 13 pieces and 8-10 different companies, you have one system to use and one phone number to call.

If there is one big takeaway from this blog, it is to think of technology as a system not just for data collection, but for making decisions and implementing them.

Whenever you look at any one of the pieces above, do not buy them in isolation, buy each piece as a strategic part of how they fit into the whole and to do that you must have a very good understanding of every part of it. If you don’t want the hassle of trying to build and glue together your own system and be your own support, then the BreedELITE Sheep System may be the best pathway for you. Join us where it suits your needs, get 1-1 specific training on a job-by-job basis, and expand into the system over time as your needs grow without adding complexity.

We get the question, “But can’t we piece them together ourselves and get the outcome?” The answer is yes. But we always follow up with this question: If we told you to ride 500km, and we offered you a pushbike or a motorbike, what would you choose? They look similar enough from a distance, but one requires a hell of a lot more effort than the other, and you’ll arrive at your destination a lot quicker with the motorbike. Can you get to the destination with the pushbike? Of course! But why would you want to…?

Remember, any time your focus is pulled away from the sheep and the decisions you can make for them, money is being left on the table. Buy the tools that are specifically built for the job, and you’ll be able to succeed in that job with ease, confidence and fun.

EID is an opportunity, success is a choice. Focus is the catalyst for capturing opportunities. You can only light a fire with a magnifying glass once it is in focus. So buy a system that enables this focus to remain where it needs to be

If you would like to discuss anything more to do with this blog, or perhaps you think the BreedELITE Sheep System may be useful for your EID pathway, then book a call with us here.