February 6

Cattle tracking using CSL RFID and Blockchain E-Livestock Global


In 2018, an outbreak of tick-borne disease led to the death of over 50,000 cattle in Zimbabwe. The lack of a traceability system left Zimbabwe unable to export cattle to lucrative markets in Europe and the Middle East, reducing critical export earnings. This struggle exposed the need for a cattle tracking solution that is capable of tracking key animal information such as vaccinations, disease treatment and other key events in a cow’s life.

E-Livestock Global, a Maryland technology company, noticed this market need and developed a solution to track cattle in Zimbabwe that combines UHF RFID and Blockchain technologies. E-Livestock designed the solution to be accessible and a low cost of $2 per cow. This approach makes the solution affordable for smaller localized farmers within Zimbabwe and may countries around the world. 

Why use UHF RFID to track cattle?

In many parts of the world communal cattle farming is still popular, particularly in Africa. This is one of the oldest ways to raise cattle and typically has less infrastructure in place to manage a herd. Cattle roam freely and cattle chutes used to isolate cattle are less common.  To track cattle properly, communal cattle farming needs a long read range solution that is cost effective. 

The use of UHF RFID tags enables individual tag costs to be low, while maximizing read range of the cattle tags. As cattle roam freely, the CS108 and CS710S enables workers to read tags at a range of  5 to 20 meters (16.4 to 65.6 feet), depending on the tag and environmental conditions. These readers are capable of reading hundreds of tag reads per second, however this use case takes advantage of the specialized antenna that has industry leading read range capabilities. 

Cow Scanned by RFID Reader

Using RFID to read cattle RFID tags

Technical Objective

Simplify data collection effort by reading RFID tags at a long read range of 50+ feet. 

How Cattle Tracking with UHF RFID Works

All cattle receive an RFID enabled ear tag programed with a unique RFID ID. This tag ID is associated to an animal record within the E-Livestock Global App. Blockchain technology is used to track key events during the life of the animal. 

RFID comes into play when taking inventory of a herd to capture an animals presence. It is also use to find a specific animal that may need veterinary assistance. 

Cow With RFID Tag Close Up

Cow with RFID ear tag. 

The CS108 and CS710S RFID readers are easy to use with a simple trigger pull to start RFID scanning.  As the readers scan RFID tags, the data is sent to the mobile device over Bluetooth. 

Cattle RFID Tag


Unique identification for each animal (UHF RFID)

Handheld RFID Reader

RFID Reader

CS108 or CS710S Reader Reads ID and Transmits to App. (15m RFID Read Range)


E-Livestock Global App

Apple and Android compatible data collection to store animal data

Using an RFID handheld to scan cattle tags requires very little training. Watch how cattle have their RFID tags scanned in the video below. 

Click to play

Results Summary

This unique use case for RFID proved to be successful.  Communal cattle tracking using RFID is growing thanks to the solution from E-Livestock Global. A few years from now there may be millions of cattle track with RFID in Africa and other types of animals may be tagged with RFID as well. As this system is adopted by more farmers, the data will be used to increase animal support services, improve animal health, and address nutritional needs. 

  • Successful pilot of 10,000 cattle. Another 80,000 cattle tagged under current expansion.
  • Two more pilot countries were added and one full implementation. Four total countries, representing over 25 million cattle.
  • Best Blockchain Solution in Agriculture in Africa 2021 Award (Digital Banker)
  • Innovation Award 2022 (Society for International Development – United States)


There are growing number of RFID use cases with new innovative ideas for RFID coming up every day. CSL is your partner to provide readers and tags for your solution. We can help you get started with RFID.

Ways to get started with CSL RFID Readers

More Information


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