Ag in Action 2017
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Cattle ID can even extend beyond ear markers,
according to Westphal.
“At times, cattle will lose the ear tags,” he said.
“I’ll also put a brisket tag in them, so if they lose the
ear tag, I can still identify them without catching the
cow.”Westphal went on to describe modifications to
tags, such as notches, ranchers sometimes make.
Backup identification methods are often employed
with ear tags, too: Westphal ensures his animals’
identities with ear tattoos.
Despite the range of choices and meanings when it
comes to ear tags, Westphal said the pieces of plastic
are still crucial.
“For most people, the only way they’re going
to be able to tell their cattle apart is by the ear tag
itself,” he said. “There’s different color and sizes, and
everybody has their own system that they’ve used for
years. If it works for them, that’s all that matters.”
So what should those of us not in the ranching
industry think when we see Bessie and her brightly
colored jewelry? Well, I’ll be thinking there’s a lot of
information in that ear, but there’s one thing I can
know for sure: that cow is a unique individual.
Continued from page 3
Photo by Jenny Gessaman