About the

ISO Standard for livestock identification

ISO is the acronym of the International Organization for Standardization. This organization sets international standards for products and processes that businesses and industry can use.

In short, ISO standards are standards that businesses and industrial companies have agreed upon among themselves to help guarantee quality and security. The same is true for RFID for livestock. A worldwide standard for RFID animal identification enables automatic national and international registration of origin and movement of animals.


Animal number

To enable every unique animal to be identified, a unique identification code (animal number) is needed. This code needs to contain enough space and information to enable animals to be identified and to ensure international compatibility. ISO 11784 defines the structure of the RFID identification code for farm animals. The standard describes the code structure of a 64 bit identification code that is transmitted by the label, enabling unique identification. The code in the electronic identification device is split up into a number of code fields. Each of these code fields has its own meaning and transmits specific information. The number of bits in the code fields determines the number of possible combinations and therefore the amount of information and the number of unique numbers that can be contained in a code field.

The 64-bit code structure is ideal for creating a unique identification code that contains enough space and  information to identify animals. The code is transmitted digitally by the label. This code structure is not really suitable  for use as an animal number that can be written down however. So a numeric abbreviation was created, consisting of the three-digit country code or manufacturer code and the 12-digit national identification code. This results in a unique 15-digit numeric animal number. This number, or part of it, can often be found on labels or in management programs.