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CattleTrace pilot project shifts to ‘Phase Two’

steve everts/iStock/Thinkstock beef cows and calves
Program expands to Missouri, intends to guide development of nationwide traceability infrastructure.

The CattleTrace pilot project, a public-private partnership designed to develop and test a purpose-built cattle disease traceability infrastructure in Kansas but intended to guide development of a nationwide livestock disease traceability program, is progressing, according to those involved.

The project currently has three primary objectives: 1) develop a purpose-built infrastructure for disease traceability; 2) test the infrastructure; and 3) evaluate its economics at both the individual producer and industry-wide levels.

For the past year, CattleTrace has focused almost entirely on developing the purpose-built infrastructure, including recruiting partners, installing readers, and distributing tags. While the program will continue expanding the infrastructure both in Kansas and outside of the state, the focus is now shifting to the second objective of testing the infrastructure.

This “Phase Two” includes evaluating the effectiveness of the data collected and the robustness of the CattleTrace database, the stakeholders said.  

For example, the program has proven the ability to successfully transmit data to the CattleTrace database when calves are sighted, but now it is working to develop a series of robust queries to enable us to trace cattle movement in the event of a disease situation.

“CattleTrace hypothesized that we only need four data points (animal ID number, time, date and location of the readers) to conduct a trace-back or trace-forward on an animal in the event of a disease outbreak. The queries we are building will allow us to test this hypothesis and determine if those are the only necessary data points, or if others are required.”

The first mock traces with the CattleTrace system will start in summer 2019, with results shared as they are evaluated.

Missouri partnership

CattleTrace also announced that it has now expanded to Missouri. In March, readers were installed at the Kingsville Livestock Auction in Kingsville, MO. With the support of MFA Health Track, the team at the Kingsville Livestock Auction, and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Missouri producers now have the opportunity to participate in the program.

“We are excited to welcome Missouri’s involvement in CattleTrace. We know that to be effective, a disease traceability system needs to work across the country,” CattleTrace said. “Missouri’s involvement will help us build a better disease traceability infrastructure to serve the beef industry.”

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