How to Administer a Cattle Bolus

How to Administer a Cattle Bolus

– By Bradley Wingrave

January 25, 2021

How to administer a cattle bolus for the purposes of data collection is a question on the minds of many farmers. This non-invasive tool is providing new, real-time insights through smart technology. These insights – in conjunction with other wearable technologies – are disrupting the traditional approach to herd and health monitoring and management.

Read on to find out more about the livestock bolus from Smarter Technologies, how to administer it, and the benefits for your cattle or dairy farm.

How to administer a cattle bolus from Smarter Technologies

The livestock bolus from Smarter Technologies is bullet-shaped and easily implanted.  In the form of a tube with an IoT tag, this can be done in one of two ways.

  1. Feed it to the cow.
  2. By using a bolus gun cattle become part of a smart farm with minimal fuss. Read on for a quick step-by-step breakdown of the process.

The latter procedure is familiar to farmers as the way to administer oral medications in cattle rearing. Simple and pain-free, the simplicity of the process is but one reason for the appeal of this smart technology for agriculture. The bolus gun very quickly aids in swallowing the implant (made from medical-grade plastic), which sits in the rumen of the cow. In addition, Smarter Technologies Group’s cattle bolus has a five-year battery life, making this a process that does not need to be repeated very often.

Smarter Technologies Group recommends administering the bolus to cows as early as possible. The bolus can be implanted in calves in the same way as above from three months old.

Quick view of the cattle bolus features include:

Continuous monitoring of temperatures in real time

  • Made from medical-grade plastic
  • Data transmitted to remotely accessible cloud platform, which can quickly be assessed by vets and scientists without call-outs
  • Technology takes normal temperature fluctuations into account
  • SIM-free, low powered, and long lasting
  • Works in even remote locations
  • Non-invasive monitoring of herd wellbeing, stress, nutrition, and condition
  • Fast diagnosis and treatment
  • Early disease containment
  • Reduced mortality rates
  •  Accurate calving predictions
  • Reduced labour reliance
  • Reduced dependence on antibiotics
  • Improved record-keeping, strategic ability, and traceability

The benefits of ongoing temperature monitoring using a cattle bolus

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is the body mandated to reduce poverty and hunger. In achieving these aims, this organisation focuses on the prevention, detection, and response to disease. In this regard, it has identified new technologies as a way to improve yields and protect livestock.

The state of food security in 2021 is one deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The effect on incomes and supply chains, combined with traditional issues, are causes of hunger. Farmers are encountering mounting challenges around feeding a growing world population. In addition to the increasing number of people to feed (and the land required to house them), factors like climate change, dwindling resources, and unsustainable traditional farming processes make a smarter approach imperative.

What’s more, consumer expectations are changing. Consumers are more concerned than ever about traceability, antibiotic use, sustainability, animal health, and full supply chain transparency. For cattle and dairy farmers, this appears to be a lot to contend with – and that’s how smart technologies stand to be the shortest route to success in combating many of these challenges and streamlining farming operations.

According to Deloitte, smart animal health and monitoring could reduce losses by at least 65%. By increasing the health and viability of an increased number of animals – and coming up with overall more cost-effective operations – livestock farming and herd management has the potential to achieve easy gains for production.

The benefits of Smarter Technologies Group’s cattle bolus are:

Reduced spread of disease. Reduced mortalities

Real-time insights into temperature fluctuations have the benefit of early disease detection. It can take some time for cattle to show outward symptoms of disease – by which time contagion could move through the herd. This data is delivered directly (and to the remote dashboard of) farmers and allocated personnel. Managers and owners can forward information remotely to vets, which also saves costs on call outs.

This data-driven process allows for early containment and averts the spread of disease. Additionally, it gives farmers the ability to react to stress indicators. This also has the effect of reduced reliance on antibiotics and lower mortalities. This enhanced veterinary control means better cost control around herd health management too.

Lactation and calving

Consistent temperature monitoring also helps farmers to predict calving. This increases the viability of every animal and empowers farmers to engage in veterinary intervention where necessary. Temperature can also provide some excellent insights for the purposes of lactation and these data readings are a foundation for practices to enhance milk production.

Reduced labour costs. Increased productivity. Saved time and money

Traditional processes around livestock health and temperature monitoring are a labour-intensive and costly affair. Smart technologies for herd management and livestock health not only reduce losses, but improve productivity for increased profits and cost savings. As a consequence of this, manpower and cashflow can be utilised where it is really needed to drive efficiency ad scale.

How a smart cattle bolus fits into the broader smart farm context

The temperature readings provided by the cattle bolus from Smarter Technologies Group forms one part of a multi-faceted smart farm. Using a system of smart GPS collars, sensors, pressure pads, and gateways, the IoT technologies allow almost everything to be monitored at a granular level in real time. The GPS collar alleviates stock theft and aids in recoverability, but also provides powerful insights for cattle monitoring.

These technologies can be tailored to your unique farm set-up. They can be used for everything from monitoring feed and fuel levels to access control, perimeter and fence monitoring, to stock taking, smart crops, and atmospheric monitoring. This data is remotely accessible from anywhere, 24/7 and pre-programmed alerts on any unusual activity are sent to save time and inspire action.

From emergencies to strategy, accurate data readings drive evolution of farming enterprises without the guesswork. Whether you are looking to data for optimal maintenance scheduling or full supply chain monitoring, this real-time visibility holds a world of opportunities for farming operations.

Smart technologies also reduce the reliance on manpower and are at the heart of automation. It also assists in streamlining worker efficiency and empowering your workforce in their roles. As the industry evolves, the adoption of technology is also a useful tool in attracting new talent.

Want to find out more about smart farms and smart agriculture?

Read the Smart Guide to Farming and Agriculture from Smarter Technologies Group and explore the applications and benefits of these customisable smart solutions for your farming operation.

Frequently Asked Questions: Cattle Bolus

What is a cattle bolus?

A cattle bolus is an implant in the rumen of a cow that can be used to achieve different outcomes. Some contain slow-release vitamins and medicines. More recently, a cattle bolus is used to track temperature of individual cattle in real time for early disease detection and prevention and overall herd management.

What data does the cattle bolus collect?

Smarter Technologies Group’s cattle bolus monitors the temperature of individual animals within the herd. This is designed to be an early warning system to prevent stress and disease in herds. This incorporates a temperature threshold to prevent false alarms from natural fluctuations. The bolus is programmed to provide immediate reports on undesirable temperature changes, empowering farmers to take action, isolate subject animals, and prevent the spread of infection and mortalities.

What are the best cattle boluses?

Aside from the cattle boluses which work towards slow release of minerals and vitamins, smart cattle boluses present exciting livestock health benefits for beef and dairy farmers. By providing farmers with instant alerts on undesirable or unusual changes in temperature, less is left to chance in addressing stress and disease and managing lactation.

How to bolus cattle

Using a bolus gun is the simplest way to administer a bolus to cattle. Mark the bolus for easy identification in case the cow spits it up. Use a dab of mineral oil to help it go down a little more smoothly. Insert the bolus into the bolus gun. Firmly insert the nozzle to the very back of the tongue and, once you are sure the nozzle is inserted far enough and if there isn’t too much resistance, you can give the bolus. Watch the cow for a few seconds to be sure it has been swallowed.


The cattle bolus from Smarter Technologies Group is designed to be cost-effective, simple, and smart. This powerful tool stands to provide high-level ROI through increased productivity, boosted profits, and a smart approach to cattle and dairy processes.

Contact Smarter Technologies Group today for more information.

About the author

Bradley Wingrave has a wealth of business experience spanning more than two decades and his success in a number of entrepreneurial ventures makes him a forerunning expert on businesses, offices, facilities and legal compliance.

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