Fever Tags: Technology Meets Agriculture

This is what happens when you put technology out to pasture

CANYON - When it comes to cattle, our area is king.

According to the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, 28 percent of the nation's fed cattle comes from our area. That makes it our largest commodity in the state.

Beef is big business and now thanks to Fever Tags, the health of the industry is looking good.

Richard Crider grew up in the heart of cattle country and saw a need to put technology out to pasture.

"As these technologies advance across the U.S. and globally it was just a natural process to bring these technologies into the agriculture industry."

Crider and his business partner came up with Fever Tags here in Amarillo.

It's a continuous monitoring temperature advice which has thermistor probe that sits inside the cows ear canal. Every 15 minutes it checks the animal's temperature and starts noting temperature and looking for patterns. Once the temperature stays consistently high over a certain period of time, the tag will blink. That's when the cow is pulled and checked with a traditional device to confirm the cow is running a fever. At that point the treatment protocol begins.

Jordan Furnish is the technical service manager with Fever Tags. He says there's nothing like it in the market, "It's a constant monitor of temperature in an undisturbed state. There's not anything else that does that. You can verify temperature shoot side but pulling the animal adds stress. Moving the animal is going to elevate temperature so that's not a true undisturbed reading of temperature. This is."

The biggest challenge in the cattle industry, according to Dr. John Richeson, is Bovine Respiratory Disease, "Bovine respiratory disease accounts for about 70 percent of the morbidity in our cattle population and about half, 50 percent of the mortality." Richeson believes this kind of technology can make a difference.

"The earlier we can identify this disease, bovine respiratory disease, the more likely we are going to have treatment success," says Richeson. "So it's really important to diagnose as early as possible."

This technology is taking off overseas according to Crider, "We've done just basis research over there looking at this technology and utilizing it as an intervention tool. With that we've reduced antibiotic use, reduce death loss, and overall had better well being for the animals."

Fever Tags are being used in 20 different countries and Crider has a goal to be in 150 countries in the next two years.


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