Electronic tags: What are the options available to farmers?

With the Department of Agriculture recently suggesting that mandatory electronic tagging of bovines could be on the cards, farmers will be looking at what benefits can be gained if there is a change to the system.

With the electronic tag being the main driver of this change, Mullinahone Co-op has highlighted the options it offer in this area.

Mullinahone has been involved in official identification in Ireland since 1995 and have been providing their official electronic cattle tag to farmers on a voluntary basis since 2013. This is the sixth year that it is supplying this tag and, to date, about 600,000 units have been attached to newborn calves.

What tags are available?

The tags are described as HDX (half duplex) high-performance tags. The HDX technology provides the best possible read distances.

They are used for a number of operations on the farm; mainly operating automatic calf rearing systems and this is one of the big attractions for an EID (electronic identification) tag.

Also, farmers use these tags to operate drafting systems for bovines and also weighing and feeding systems. Allied to this, people are currently investigating the operation of using the EID tag in TB testing.

Mullinahone also offers an unofficial button electronic tag. They can be used where animals are not officially tagged with electronics. They are available in an open head type (re-usable) or closed head type. The closed head represents exceptionally good value for a HDX tag; it is priced at €2 (including VAT).

Farmers who wish to upgrade their cows to EID find that using the button EID tag is a simpler option. These keenly priced tags are also good value for rearing bought-in calves on an automatic system.

In a situation where a farmer has already tagged their younger stock electronically and now wishes to upgrade the entire cow herd, they can contact Mullinahone Co-op.

Through years of experience, the team in Mullinahone has developed the expertise to allow farmers and installers of automated systems (for example, a drafting system) to upgrade their herd with ease, using existing tag numbers.

To streamline the installation at farm level, Mullinahone will provide the farmers with a cross reference file of upgraded tag numbers. They can also provide a number of electronic tag readers and the staff can advise on the most suitable options.


All of the electronic bovine tags offered by Mullinahone Co-op are manufactured by Allflex – the world’s largest provider of animal identification. With manufacturing facilities on all of the continents, Allflex has built a huge store of expertise and experience.

Unlike some other tag companies, Allflex manufactures the complete electronic tag themselves, in Vitre, in Northern France. This includes the inner core of the electronic tag; they are not reliant on outside companies for the provision of this.

Given the enhanced ability of this plant to deal with large volumes of tags, any change from a visual market to an electronic one – as could be the case in Ireland – does not provide any major difficulties.

Allflex outlined that providing timely notification of the intention to change would allow them to adapt to the new situation.

Mullinahone Co-op and Allflex have worked together for a long number of years and have overseen major changes in the animal identification scene in Ireland.

Both companies have always been conscious that sound animal identification underpins secure traceability for Irish farming; they both look forward with confidence to whatever lies ahead.

More information

For more information on bovine electronic tagging, just Click here