Development of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association's Beef InfoXchange System is slightly ahead of schedule, according to its coordinator.

BIXS is an individual animal and carcass data exchange system being developed by the CCA.

"The system is geared to create a database where at the cow-calf end, the feedlot end and at the packer end, information about individual animals can get logged into the database and linked to the CCIA tag ID number," explains Larry Thomas. "It's for producers who really do want to know what kind of beef they produce, how their cattle perform across the beef chain, and if they were healthy."

Phase 2 of the BIXS launch started in August. Around 100 cow-calf producers have started submitting the individual animal birthdate, production, animal health protocol, breed and genetic information of their cattle.

"We're really focusing right now on getting the program up and running and giving cow-calf producers an opportunity to get in," he says. "Phase 2 will take us through the better part of September. We'll then make the necessary changes and then I'd be looking, as soon as possible, to roll the program out to all cow-calf producers."

The system is voluntary, but cow-calf producers interested in participating should keep records of animals' CCIA tag numbers and birthdates. Optional information, including vaccinations and health protocols, can also be entered.

Thomas says the database will eventually be opened to data entry from feedlots and packers.

There is no cost for producers participating in the program, thanks to funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Agriflexibility Fund.

"We are committed to not having cow-calf producers shoulder the cost," says Thomas.