Study tar­gets cat­tle steal­ing

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY -

CQUNIVERSITY re­searchers are call­ing on pro­duc­ers to par­tic­i­pate in a re­search pro­gram test­ing smart sen­sor tech­nol­ogy as a means of pre­vent­ing and de­tect­ing stock theft.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with AgForce, the re­search pro­ject is aimed at de­vel­op­ing a new live­stock mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem that can be used by land­hold­ers and law en­force­ment agen­cies to re­motely mon­i­tor an­i­mals.

The 2001/2002 Na­tional Farm Crime Sur­vey found live­stock theft was the most com­monly re­ported ru­ral crime, af­fect­ing 6% of farms, with an es­ti­mated an­nual cost of $16 mil­lion.

How­ever, most in­ci­dents (65%) went un­re­ported and the true cost was likely to be closer to $67 mil­lion a year.

Pro­ject leader As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Mark Trot­ter said stock theft ranged from small num­bers through to or­gan­ised op­er­a­tions where en­tire herds were mus­tered and stolen, but the one com­mon fac­tor was the farmer’s in­abil­ity to mon­i­tor live­stock lo­ca­tions and be­hav­iour.

CQUniversity’s Pre­ci­sion Live­stock Man­age­ment team is recog­nised as a na­tional leader in the use of sen­sor tech­nolo­gies to en­hance an­i­mal pro­duc­tion.

Dr Trot­ter will col­lab­o­rate with Pro­fes­sor Steve Moore, from CQUniversity’s School of En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy, in adapt­ing sen­sors for use on live­stock, and with Dr Stu­art Char­ters, of New Zealand’s Lin­coln Univer­sity, an ex­pert in data man­age­ment.

“One of the lim­i­ta­tions of the Na­tional Live­stock Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem is that the lo­ca­tion of an an­i­mal is only spo­rad­i­cally known when the tags are checked when live­stock are bought, sold or moved along the pro­duc­tion chain – an­i­mal data can­not be ac­cessed re­motely or in real time,” Dr Trot­ter said.

“We have de­signed a generic an­i­mal sens­ing plat­form with GPS lo­ca­tion to mon­i­tor an­i­mal move­ment that we will test in stock theft sim­u­la­tions at AgForce’s Bel­mont Re­search Sta­tion.”

CQUniversity will be host­ing a work­shop with pro­duc­ers di­rectly af­fected by stock theft to gain in­sights into the types of be­hav­iour, both crim­i­nal and an­i­mal, that could be recorded dur­ing stock theft.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the pro­ducer work­shop, email m.trot­ter@cqu.edu.au.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

RE­DUCE CRIME: As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Mark Trot­ter is call­ing on pro­duc­ers for a stock theft study.

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