New Technology for Horse Owners

Beth Doran,  ISU Extension Beef Field Specialist, Northwest


 The United States Department of Agriculture plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) to be operational by 2009. The purpose is to trace, within 48 hours, all the premises where an animal has been in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak. NAIS will include beef, dairy, sheep, swine, poultry, goats, llamas, deer, fish and horses. However, most horse owners are unaware that this program includes horses. New technologies, such as NAIS, computer programs and informational materials, can aid the horse owner in their management and cost of production. Iowa State University is in the lead with one of the most comprehensive manuals on Horse Facilities and a state-of-the-art ration formulation program. Education to promote these tools is needed.


 Meetings featuring NAIS, BRANDS (ISU's ration program) and the Horse Facilities Handbook were offered to horse owners on May 31 in Cherokee and June 7 in Sheldon. The meetings were attended by 10 and 8, respectively. A follow-up survey was administered to evaluate the impact of the program.


 The two meetings reached 18 horse owners managing a total of 192 horses. When asked to estimate the value of this program, including the cost of getting the information elsewhere, a conservative value of $3250 was calculated. Prior to the meetings, 100% of the participants rated their working knowledge of NAIS as low or fair. Subsequent to the meeting, 100% of the participants indicated that they had gained a fair amount or alot about NAIS from attending the meeting. Approximately 30% of the horse owners indicated that they intended to put the information into practice. Another 76% replied that maybe they would put some of the information into practice. Action plans included paying more attention to the animal ID program and identifying their horses with the microchip. Three intended to purchase the BRANDS program for horses, and another three expressed interest in the Horse Facilities Handbook. One unexpected impact involved a phone conversation with a staff veterinarian for a pharmaceutical company. This company houses 70 horses used to manufacture an estrogenic drug. The veterinarian inquired about NAIS and identification systems for horses. He indicated that the company intended to purchase and install the microchip in the horses.

July 14, 2005
107 - Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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