The introduction of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) within Australia empowers authorities with rapid and precise information however, it also provides Australian farmers with the opportunity to derive additional benefits for themselves via enhanced farm management practices. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is becoming globally recognised as the technology to implement animal identification and has become a mandatory form of livestock management in many countries. In accordance with this global trend, Australia has introduced the NLIS for the identification and tracking of livestock, subsequently placing Australia at the forefront of cattle traceability in the world. However, it is proposed that producers go beyond mere compliance, and take advantage of the RFID technology used in the NLIS to leverage additional benefits for themselves through enhanced farm management practices. This research investigates this concept and provides an ideal framework for the use of RFID technology for total farm management. At the core of this research are two case studies, undertaken on dairy farms on the South Coast of New South Wales. These case studies differ with regards to the use of RFID technology in their farming operations - from utilising little to no RFID technology, to a dairy farm with strong integration of RFID technology in their daily operations. It is believed that dairy farmers may be able to relate to these case studies in terms of their own current situation, or future plans for their dairy, subsequently aiding them to decide on their own utilisation of electronic identification for farm management. As a final endeavour, the research undertakes a cross-case comparison to provide a proposed framework with the aim to maximise the advantages and return on investment for farmers by utilising RFID technology for farm management. Some of the potential advantages explored include increased efficiencies, greater information availability, reduced feed and labour costs, improved milk quality and volume, improved herd health, ease of herd management and more. With the rapid growth of RFID technology for animal traceability, this research takes a step towards resolving the current gap in academic research, while also aiding to inform farmers of the range of opportunities provided by utilising RFID technology for farm management.
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.