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Ag in Action 2017





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Heidi Weber

Independent Associate


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