Comparing low-frequency and ultra-high-frequency EID tags for cattle


What’s the difference between low-frequency (LF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) EID tags?


Simply put, UHF tags can be read from a greater distance compared to LF tags. Performance Beef’s animal health features are compatible with both tag types to streamline processing and treatment data. 

Here are some considerations as you decide which option works best for you:

UHF tags

Can be read at up to 25 feet: You can compare UHF tags to a tollway. With a UHF tag, it’s like a tollway pass allowing you to maintain speed and never slow down, whereas using a LF tag is comparable to paying with cash.

UHF tag reader: The most common type is installed above the head catch on a chute. This setup syncs with Performance Beef to capture each animal’s data as they’re run through the chute hands-free. 

Compatibility with other programs: There is only one UHF tag currently offered that works as an official ID, Anitrace. If using any other UHF tag, producers would have to tag cattle with another official ID to ensure program compliance.

Using with Performance Beef: As each animal is caught, the UHF tag is automatically read and registered on the iPad screen for a more hands-off approach. 

Other considerations: UHF tags usually come with a visual component, so they can be that animal’s stand-alone tag.


As Kelly and Sydney Hoegger run cattle through the chute, the reader above the head catch reads each animal’s UHF tag and registers on the iPad. Read more about equipment installation here.

LF tags

Can be read at 8 inches or less: LF tags require each tag to be individually scanned to capture data.

LF tag reader: A wand is the most common LF tag reader. Panel readers that mount on the chute head catch are another option, though less commonly used.

Compatibility with other programs: Most LF tags are 840 tags that work as official IDs. An 840 tag always is a program-compliant tag, but there are other tags like 982 tags, that are program-compliant, but not official IDs.

Using with Performance Beef: Using LF tags requires each animal’s tag to be scanned by a wand reader.

Other considerations: LF tags (also referred to as button tags) don’t have a visual component to them. Some LF tags will come nested with the button tag and a separate panel tag with a visual component.

See how this South Dakota operation got set up processing cattle using LF tags on the Performance Beef system.

Processing summary results

See processing summary results after Travis Cowan got set up with LF tags on the Performance Beef system. Explore low-frequency wands compatible with Performance Beef here.

Get started

Using LF or UHF tags with Performance Beef is a great way to streamline reading and managing data. Use whatever system best fits your marketing goals. 

If you’re ready to put Performance Beef’s animal health features to use or have questions, request a demo here.

Interested in making the switch to UHF tags? Check out what we have to offer for UHF tags and tag readers.

Interested in learning more about Performance Beef and what it can do for you operation? Schedule a demo today.

Already a Performance Beef customer? Sign up for a call with Customer Success to get started using the animal health features.