Bespoke design and testing
VelTrak software has been created specifically for the NZ deer industry by a company specialising in IT for the primary sector.
Similarly, the selection and testing of scanners and barcode formats has been made specifically for deer velvet with the help of a NZ company that is the global leader in UHF scanning technology. Care has been taken to design and test VelTrak with each of the different types of user within the industry.
UHF chipped identification tag
The key tracing technology used by VelTrak is a UHF RFID chip embedded into the VelTrak tag. The chip will not contain information about the stick or its provenance: that will be stored in the cloud database.
UHF has been selected as the type of RFID. This is because it allows many chipped items to be scanned at once. This is important for businesses dealing in large volumes of velvet. Other forms of RFID chip, such as LF tags, are unsuitable as only one tag can be scanned at a time.
Confidentiality and data access
VelTrak has been designed to ensure that confidentiality is maintained. It is a "one-up, one-down" traceability system as required by New Zealand food safety law, so users will only see data relating to the business from which they received velvet and any business to whom they supplied velvet. At this stage customers in the market will not be able to see the farm of origin of velvet.
When users log on to VelTrak, their interface and the actions they can carry out will be specific to their type of user. For instance, only veterinary practices will be able to allocate velvet tags to farmers and only farmers will be able to approve draft VSDs.
Scanners are either handheld devices, most suited to scanning small shipments in the field, or a fixed scanner suited to scanning larger shipments in a warehouse. VelTrak has been developed to work with only one model of handheld scanner – the Zebra. This is to keep software development costs manageable and to limit the number of upgrades needed over time.
Click below to see the scanning process using a fixed scanner. Note that the rig shown in temporary only.
Click below to see handheld scanning in practice
The barcodes on the tags, with the ‘GTIN’ numbers underneath allow veterinarians to easily allocate tags to a farmer without needing to purchase a UHF scanner. Customers in world markets can also use them to verify that the velvet comes from New Zealand and meets our strict food safety and animal welfare standards.
Barcode scanners are not practical for buyers or packhouses dealing with large numbers of sticks at the height of the season.
Each tag will have an associated UHF chip number, but the GTIN -- as the visible number -- will be the number displayed on eVSDs and entered into VelTrak for traceability searches.
If a farmer wishes to link a stick of velvet to the stag from which it was harvested, the velvet tag number can be entered against the stag's NAIT number into farm management systems at velvetting, using a bar code scanner. Farm management software companies can advise on how to do this.
Most users will interact with the VelTrak database through the VelTrak website. To do this, all users (veterinarians, farmers, buyers and packhouses) must be registered and have a password to ensure confidentiality. The only information that users will be able to view will be that which is relevant to their role. Like all websites, VelTrak is accessible through mobile phones, tablets and PCs.
Some information will be added automatically, based on the profile of the person doing the scanning (for instance, the identity of the velvet buyer) or the farm to whom the tags have been allocated. Other information relevant to the individual consignment -- such as velvet weight or identity of the person doing the velvetting -- will be entered by the buyer or farmer.