Video: New computer programs make traceability easier

Bio Track and Bio Links | Company claims its software can help 
trace a cut of meat back to an individual animal

An agricultural software company is offering programs that help producers manage, market and track their livestock, right down to individual meat cuts.

Betty-Jo Almond, sales and service manager for Bio, said the software allows producers to show off their good management practices.

“You can really tell the story of the product you raise with pride, that this is how we raise it, and here’s the information that can validate how we are doing this,” said Almond.

Bio Links, one of the computer programs, uses a code on package labels that can include information such as where the product was grown, what it was fed while raised and treatments.

It can also obtain feedback from consumers.

“When you scan them, you can actually see the tenderness of the piece of meat you are eating, so there is real value in looking at that information,” Almond said.

“It also gives you the ability to rate it as a consumer.”

Bio Track is an online livestock management system that helps users gather information on animals as they are raised, such as birth, treatments, sales, deaths and breeding information.

It is available for beef, dairy and meat sheep and goat operations.

Almond said such tracking information will eventually be mandatory for all livestock operations to help with insecurity. However, she said the biggest benefit from using the programs is the efficiencies it helps producers make.

“You can really narrow down on the areas you should focus on to see an immediate return on what you’re doing and find ways to improve,” she said.

“Without information, you can’t really pinpoint what’s working and what’s not.”

Inventory entered into Bio Links automatically creates an online store, which helps get the products in front of more people.

Almond said combining Bio Links and Bio Track provides full biosecurity. A cut of meat can be traced to the animal it came from, including the animal’s complete life history.

Bio’s website allows operators to access their production information with any device that has an internet connection. The company is planning to add the ability to use Bio Track in a disconnected mode when production information is collected in poor service areas.

“It can be as low as $175 a month that helps you with your inventory and sales,” Almond said.

“It can be expanded up to in the range of about $300 a month to be able to track a whole carcass down, and also manage your inventory and your sales.”

Most of the Canadian producers who use Bio Track are in Alberta because it was originally developed by Alberta Agriculture. Farms in Ontario have also signed up, but it can be used anywhere with internet.

This has allowed Bio to become an international company, and it is now expanding into Southeast Asia, Brazil and the Caribbean.

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