The ROSEI project demonstrated a powerful system solution to the identification of individual animals moving through the supply chain.
The ROSEI (Robust Sheep Electronic Identification) project was a two-year EU project which concluded in December 2014. It examined the strengths and weaknesses of both Low Frequency (LF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) animal tag technology and reading equipment (static and
It also included studies of the business, regulatory and animal health approaches of the major sheep producing countries across Europe. These studies went on to investigate the various approaches to animal identification and adoption and effectiveness of electronic identification in
The shortcomings of visual and LF identification were clearly demonstrated in these studies. Specifically, the cost of electronic equipment, the skills required to use computers, andcompliance with legislation were all seen as barriers to uptake of the technology.
In response, the ROSEI programme concentrated on development of an electronic tag that could be read at ranges compatible with the free movement and the natural herding behaviour of the animals that causes problems in LF technology.
This was accompanied by reader and software systems that would allow ‘hands-free and no-IT’ supporting farmers and stockmen who may struggle with the prohibitive costs of the reading equipment nor necessarily have the skills to operate it and manage the data that is produced.
The ROSEI approach did not in any way limit however the tools and data collection opportunities that more technically advanced users wish to benefit from. The requirements of meat processors, breed societies, animal health professionals (government and veterinarians), environmental and legislative inspectors were all catered for in the use of the cloud computing
and web service developments that allowed secure storage and sharing of animal data. A comprehensive data model was developed to meet these needs and demonstrated through mobile applications and secure APIs.
Real Life Trials
As well as demonstration and optimisation of the computing systems and readers, significant trials were undertaken to evaluate the performance of the UHF tags in flock conditions. The trials included identification of up to 100 animals moving through a race (a farming term for a passage, generally with solid, rather than fenced of barred, sides). The animals moved through at varying speeds (from 2 to 6 metres/sec) according to how they were driven. The width of the race, the number and positioning of the antennas were also varied.
Trials were also carried-out in a two-deck farm trailer designed for sheep transport and a crate used for weighing and in the treatment, classification and separation of animals. Both static and hand-held readers were used and collected data was transferred to the cloud database via the internet using a mobile phone application. In addition, data transfer from readers connected to a laptop computer was also demonstrated.
It was shown that 100% identification could be consistently and predictably achieved in all these conditions, thus meeting a key objective of the ROSEI programme – the robust identification of electronic IDs. In addition, it was shown that these identities could be transferred to, securely stored in, and reported and retrieved from the cloud database.
Cross Border Tag Tracking
The database also allowed farms in different countries (UK, Norway, Ireland and France were demonstrated) to register and record their different national identifiers. This was a second key objective of the programme; providing an integrated system that can operate across the European nations whilst ensuring that farm registrations and animal identities are held in the format that applies in those separate nations and regions.
The technology developed by ROSEI is applicable in many animal sectors and for many business use cases including traceability and authenticity, breed integrity and genetics authenticity tracking, transport and market efficiency.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) under grant agreement n° FP7- SME-2012-1 with consortium members: Agrident BV (Belgium), Roxan Ltd (Scotland), Page.up (France), TLR/everysite (UK). ISRI (UK), NMBU (Norway) and Michael McHugh (Ireland).