National cattle record-keeping system phase-in begins

The launch has begun for the Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS), a voluntary Canada-wide data recording system for cattle producers.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), which oversees BIXS, said Thursday in a release that a “limited number” of cow-calf producers are to receive invitations to register, log on and submit their individual animals’ data to the system.

BIXS’ launch will be staged to allow its developers to “test system functionality in real time,” thus allowing them to work out any system kinks before a “large-scale roll-out” this fall.

“It’s important for us to take small steps out of the gate so we don’t have issues impacting potentially hundreds or thousands of BIXS users,” Larry Thomas, BIXS’ national co-ordinator, said in the release.

“While we anticipate some hiccups, we also have the ability to move pretty quickly through the launch phases if things go well. Our goal remains to have the system rolled out to cow-calf producers across Canada by the fall calf run.”

BIXS is expected to help its participating cow-calf operators store and retrieve individual animal data such as vaccination date and product used, or castration and dehorn date. BIXS may also be used to validate animal birthdates against Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) records.

In time, the CCA said, historical carcass data on a herd basis could be displayed in near real-time either before or during sales at auction markets. 

The CCA said it’s also developing tools within BIXS tailored to auction markets’ use, and has tentative plans to allow markets to provide “strategic messaging” on pending sales and events to producers who have specific animals and protocols, or are in “specified geographical areas.”

A feedlot interface with BIXS is also in development, the CCA said. The association  said it also plans to keep working with Canadian beef slaughter plants to set up carcass tracking and computer vision grading systems.

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