We just got back from our yearly CO Woolgrowers Convention. This is the once a year 2 day meeting of the sheep industry in Colorado. In addition to the regular reports on the world meat and wool markets, what the US Government is doing about grazing and water rights and the update on the status of the predator pressure this year on range it’s a great time to eat lots of delicious lamb and meet with other folks. The featured guest speaker this year was Dr.Temple Grandin and her talk was wonderful! She spoke about the need for high speed Internet, to engage the public with what you do, not have talking heads explaining things, to get active on You Tube and in forums, on Twitter and Facebook. We were also thrilled that she spent about half an hour asking us about our project, LambTracker.
Every year we get a table to display something about our farm because we are so different from most of the folks there. This year we used our table to present information and show the LambTracker system we’ve been developing.
LambTracker is an Open Source hardware and software sheep management project that incorporates electronic identification. We’ve had many problems over the years with lost ear tags and misreading tags and last September we decided to really pursue switching over to electronic ID. We’ve developed an inexpensive EID tag reader (less than $100.00 to build) and an Open Source software program for the handheld that runs on Android hones and tablets. We demoed it running on a $99.00 Android Tablet, the Nabi in Mommy mode at the woolgrowers convention. We also have a source for very inexpensive EID tags from Shearwell in the UK. A single EID tag costs under $1.50 including shipping! A pair of tags, one EID and 1 electronic is about 13 pennies more.
Shearwell is not yet approved as an official US scrapie program tag but that approval is in the works. We expect them to be an official US ID within 30 days.
We also were given about 45 minutes to present our system. It was well received and now I’m back into the throes of development getting the sheep database design finished, expanding the handheld software to take on our 4 primary tasks, write the code to handle the conversion to EID task and get the desktop main software started. We’ve also got to get the EID tags installed into sheep ears.
My presentation, links to the source code for the demo program and more information is available at www.lambtracker.com
If you are a small flock or considering EID it’s worth a look.