Tech­nol­ogy milked to track live­stock

Countryman - - MACHINERY AND TECHNOLOGY - Tom Zaun­mayr

Fit­bits and other fit­ness track­ers have helped a gen­er­a­tion of Aus­tralians dis­cover their in­ner #fit­spo mod­els, and now a ver­sion of the wear­able tech has been de­vel­oped to help farm­ers keep track of wan­der­ing live­stock.

The CSIRO and agtech startup Ceres Tag have un­veiled new smart ear tags which pro­duce sim­i­lar data to that de­liv­ered by con­sumer smart watches.

Farm­ers can use the tags to track where their herds graze, watch for es­capees and live­stock theft, and even mon­i­tor un­usual move­ment which could in­di­cate preg­nancy or illness.

Ceres Tag chief ex­ec­u­tive David Smith said the aim was to save farm­ers time and money com­pared with the cost of man­ual surveil­lance.

“Ceres Tag gives greater trans­parency over graz­ing man­age­ment, al­low­ing farm­ers to lo­cate and mon­i­tor their an­i­mals to re­duce risk and op­er­at­ing costs, im­prove ef­fi­ciency and as­sist with trace­abil­ity,” he said.

“The tag is GPS-en­abled, al­low­ing farm­ers to track the lo­ca­tion of in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals re­motely, via in­ter­net of things ca­pa­bil­ity.”

CSIRO group leader Ed Charm­ley said fu­ture it­er­a­tions of the tag would be able to pro­vide more data on an­i­mal health and wellbeing.

“Aussie farm­ers need ev­ery bit of help they can get right now so we are pleased it has taken less than a year for this tech­nol­ogy to move from the re­search phase into devel­op­ment for a real-world trial on cat­tle,” he said.

“Our focus for fu­ture it­er­a­tions is to cre­ate a smaller and lighter tag, as well as added func­tion­al­ity such as a tem­per­a­ture sen­sor which could alert farm­ers to ill­nesses at an ear­lier stage.”

Mr Charm­ley said the tags were de­signed to last the life of the an­i­mal.

Pic­ture: CSIRO

Ceres Tag chief ex­ec­u­tive David Smith with a de­vice that can keep track of herds.

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