Application Profile: Animal Transponder with ZIP QuillTM:
The future of livestock identification

Lifelong unique identification for livestock replaces branding, tattooing and eartags

* CBSG endorsed
* CITES recommended
* FDA and USDA approved
* Features dissolving TROVAN ZIP QuillTM applicator

No larger than a grain of rice, the trovan® ID-100ZIP Animal Transponder provides humane, lifelong identification for livestock. Each transponder has a unique identification number, which is laser-programmed into the miniature integrated circuit at the time of manufacture. This number cannot be changed or duplicated, and provides unforgeable positive identification for an animal throughout its life.

The transponder is hermetically sealed in a special, biocompatible glass capsule, to assure the longevity of the electronics and preclude rejection by the implanted animal's organism. With its unmatched read range, the ID-100ZIP Animal Transponder is suitable for use with pass-by, fixed mounted readers. The patented TROVAN ZIP QuillTM applicator makes the insertion of transponders fast and easy.

About the new TROVAN delivery device

The TROVAN ZIP QuillTM is a unique transponder delivery device which consists of a hollow tube made of starch with a sharp point. Inside the hollow tube is the transponder. The entire assembly is completely sterile, delivered in an individual blister pack. The TROVAN ZIP QuillTM delivery device can be inserted very easily simply by pressing it, sharp point first, into the animal's skin with the thumb. There are no injectors or other cumbersome hardware to be disposed of or reused from one animal to another.

Once in the animal, the starch tube dissolves within two to three hours, leaving the transponder in place. Transponder application with the TROVAN ZIP QuillTM is fast, easy and safe, and, best of all, there is no danger of transferring infection from one animal to another.

How does it work?
The system consists of the TROVAN ID-100ZIP Animal Transponder and a range of different readers, both hand held and fixed-mounted. It's as easy as pointing a reader at the animal and pulling the trigger. Depending upon the type of reader selected, read ranges can range from six to eighteen inches. Fixed-mounted readers that read continuously and can be mounted in cattle chutes also exist. Readers can be interfaced with an electronic scale to fully automate data collection on individual animals. Each reading is time and date stamped. At the end of the day, the collected data can be uploaded into a PC. As a result, the process of updating computerised herd records can be fully automated.

How does the TROVAN system compare to conventional identification methods?

Branding has been used for visual identification of animal ownership for hundreds of years. Both freeze branding and hot iron branding are in common use. Since they do not provide positive identification of individual animals, brands are not suitable for use in national product integrity and traceback system: at best they provide herd identification. They can become illegible over time, and are subject to alteration and duplication by third parties. They also reduce the value of the hide of subject animals by damaging choice portions of said hide. Brands can also be duplicated outside a given jurisdiction. Brands are not able to provide worldwide guaranteed uniqueness.

Ear tags....

One of the most widely used in-herd approaches to identification, eartags with printed alpha-numeric ID codes have traditionally been used by beef and dairy producers. The perceived advantages are: ease of application, possibility to visually identify individual animals and perceived low tag cost. A major acknowledged disadvantage is the high loss rate. Surveys of U.S. ranchers have yielded loss rates for eartags ranging from 15% to 25% annually, depending upon the nature of the operation and the type of tag used, with plastic tags experiencing higher loss rates than metal eartags. Also, printed alpha-numeric ID codes cannot provide unique, positive identification because they are subject to duplication, alteration or exchange . Thirdly, such tags are not suited to automatic data capture methods, and require manual transcription.

In order to automate data capture, the human-readable alpha-numeric code conventionally used on eartags has been supplemented with barcode on a trial basis. Because barcode cannot be read through dirt and environmental obstructions, and its susceptibility to scuffing and scraping, barcode requires human intervention in order to be read on the animal's ear. In this type of environment, barcode yields an unacceptably high percentages of "no reads."

About the company...

The TROVAN system is based on technology patented by Trovan, Ltd., which distributes the product around the world. The transponders are manufactured by AEG, a member of the Daimler Benz group of companies, under ISO 9001 quality certification. In the United States, the TROVAN system is available through: Electronic Identification Devices, Ltd.

Where is the future taking us?

Consumer safety and quality control....
Ensuring traceability of individual animals from birth until death allows farmers and feed lot managers to respond to disease or product integrity problems quickly and effectively.

The European union will require positive identification of all bovines in order to provide traceback by the year 2000. Other countries and trading blocks appear poised to follow suit in the near future.Countries in the European Union, Australia and South America are moving aggressively to implement national identification in their cattle industry. In order to remain competitive, the U.S. beef and dairy industries must meet and exceed its competition, as well as customer expectations, in the areas of safety, quality and service.

In recognition of these realities, the Confederacion de Asociaciones Rurales de Buenos Aires y La Pampa, which represents 60% of the cattle growers in Argentina, has endorsed the TROVAN system as the technology of choice for identification of cattle.

Herd improvement....

Ranchers and feed lot operators can utilise the TROVAN system in order to implement comprehensive animal trace-back systems, allowing operators to improve their operation's efficiency by tracking such characteristics as weight gain and milk production (in the case of dairy operators) as well as vaccinations given and the health profile of individual animals. The data to adjust feeding rations to optimise each animal's performance according to its profile, vaccinations given and the animal's overall health profile. Non-performers can be identified and corrective action taken early on. Over the long term, tracing individual animals' performance can yield valuable data on the performance characteristics of different genetic backgrounds, if genetic data are tracked as well.


Major dairy and beef producing and consuming nations throughout the world are moving rapidly towards RFID as the ID technology of choice in order to vouchsafe animal and ocnsumer health as well as product quality control. The reasons for implementing RFID are the unmatched reliability and longevity of RFID and the fact that RFID can be read automatically and independently of line-of-sight limitations.

The TROVAN¨ electronic identification system eliminates forgeries and allows for 100% accuracy in identifying animals. Together with appropriate internal systems controls, it permits an early response to disease or product integrity problems. It gives ranchers as well as regulatory agencies greater control over individual animals preventing theft and maximising productivity and quality control via long-term tracking of animal performance within a herd.

Once assigned, an ID number stays with an animal for its entire lifetime. Because implantable tags cannot be removed from the live animal or inadvertently lost, no re-issue is required. Because no duplicate TROVAN ID numbers are ever manufactured, for any reason, there is no chance for fraud or inadvertent duplication. Trovan, Ltd. is also in the unique situation of being in a position to enforce the uniqueness of the ID codes in its RFID system.

Visit Trovan, Ltd. for more information.