PCC centers gear up for new tools in recording data for buffaloes

More than 20 participants from the Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) regional network underwent a “Training on Integrating Digital Animal Weighing Scale and Radio Frequency Identification/Electronic Identification (RFID/EID) Readers for Buffaloes” last April 24-26, 2019 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool.

The training aimed to enrich the knowledge of participants and provide them hands-on experience on the use of the digital animal weighing scale, RFID/EID readers, and the Management Information System for Buffalo (MISBuff) software.

“These tools don’t only lighten the burden of the tedious work of writing down the body weight and other body measurements of buffaloes but also help avoid human errors by eliminating the step of writing on paper, the body weight and measurements of individual animals,” Dr. Ester Flores, PCC’s Animal Breeding and Genomics Section head, said.

Meanwhile, according to Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, chief of PCC’s Research and Development Division, the tools will make recording standardized, precise, and accurate.

The RFID/EID readers scan for the presence of EID tags placed on individual animals that contain unique 16-digit numbers specific of each animal. The EID is enclosed in a ceramic bolus that is placed inside the rumen using a bolus applicator. An advantage of using EID is that it does not fall off and lasts for the lifetime of the animal. The problem of not being able to identify an animal due to the ear tags falling off is avoided.

There are two kinds of readers used by PCC, the RS4320 reader stick, a sturdy tool also called as “Darth Vader”, and the Datamars, both of which can transmit data in the computer or laptop through a cable.  Once an animal steps on a weighing scale and scanned using the RFID reader, the weight taken is paired with the scanned EID and stored in the memory of the digital weighing scale. This is done on all animals weighed and at the end of the session, the data on all animals weighed with their corresponding EID can be downloaded to a computer and uploaded to the MISBuff system.

Meanwhile, the MISBuff system allows real time recording of all the animal’s data per herd, which include weight, body measurement, family tree and performance traits.

“The technology and tools are here so why not make use of them?” Dr. Flores urged.

The PCC GIP is closely working with a programmer to further develop the MISBuff software. An application will be launched soon in consideration of the regions where internet signal is slow or non-existent.

Trainings on other features of the tools will be conducted in due course and will be cascaded down to the PCC-assisted farmers in the future. Meanwhile, additional digital weighing scales were expected to arrive soon.

Before the tools were released in the centers last year, the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool was already using the said tools.

Also present during the training were PCC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Caro Salces and some of the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool staff.