Farm technology: ‘fitbits’ for cattle and sheep
Wearable technology has become de rigueur for humans, with gadgets available to monitor and measure every move you make and every minute you sleep.
However, this area of technology is not just limited to humans. An Australian university has developed wearable motion sensors for livestock.
The aim is to help farmers better understand the health and behaviour patterns of livestock and make informed decisions when it comes to their animals.
Dr Aniruddha Desai, director of the Centre for Technology Infusion at La Trobes University in Melbourne, said: “The next generation of low-cost and low-weight sensors and the data they provide can bring the human factor back into farming.
“In the past, farmers got to know the habits of their individual animals. However, with large-scale farming, that is now impossible and current systems such as video monitoring are highly inaccurate.”
Science leader for the programme, Dr Markandeya Jois says the study has been carried out over the past three years on three different farms: a dairy farm, a sheep farm and a beef farm.
“Our work has shown the potential of such technology to address important industry problems in Australia, such as high lamb mortality rate in sheep and improving feed efficiency and pasture utilisation in both dairy and beef industries,” explained Jois.
While there is no release date at present, it won’t be long until the new gadget will be on the market.
“Response from the farmers with whom we’ve worked has been unanimously positive and we are now seeking commercial partners to help make this technology a reality,” Desai said.