How farmers keep track of cattle is changing. A system of ear tags and handwritten or spreadsheeted notes has given way to smarter technologies in recent years – and this is changing how farmers monitor their cattle and conduct record-keeping.

One such advancement has been a new wave of GPS cattle collars which, powered by the Internet of Things, are giving farmers a real-time overview of their cattle for far enhanced herd management. In turn, this has a range of benefits including streamlined operational efficiency and profitability and reduced risk across all herd sizes. This is achieved without the need for expensive manual tracking processes, requiring aircraft and vehicles, as well as manpower to be done effectively – especially on larger farms.

HOW DO SMART GPS CATTLE COLLARS WORK?

The GPS cattle collar from Smarter Technologies sends out a signal every 15 minutes, transmitting data over the zero trust Orion Data Network. This gives farmers dynamic visibility of individually tagged animals on the ground at any time, from anywhere. This remotely accessible livestock dashboard can also be programmed to send alerts and notifications for reinforced security and geofencing abilities.

THE BENEFITS OF LIVESTOCK TRACKING AND MONITORING

As all farmers know, livestock monitoring has benefits beyond simply knowing where assets are. Additional advantages are the following:

Security

The first and most obvious benefit of GPS livestock monitoring is around security. By creating geo-fenced areas, farmers can tell the moment their cattle leave the perimeter of their farms. Livestock rustling has surged since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, totalling £3 million in losses as of April 2020.

Time is of the essence when it comes to rural crime, with criminals becoming increasingly organised. Together with a system of sensors, pressure pads, and agricultural CCTV solutions, GPS cattle collars inform farmers of what’s happening on the ground, with actionable data to intercept and prevent crime and increase chances of recoverability.

Location

If a fence comes down, it can have extensive effects for farmers. The risk of livestock trampling crops or being injured on broken fences has financial implications; not to mention the manpower required to locate and contain wandering livestock. There are also legal consequences to consider – and GPS collars give farmers evidenced proof of their efforts to keep cattle off common land. IoT GPS collars send alerts to farmers whenever cattle move outside demarcated perimeters to mitigate damages.

Public footpaths on rural lands are a contentious issue, with a number of people killed or injured by cattle while walking. Additionally, gates being left open and the potential liability attracted by wandering livestock is something all reasonable farmers try to circumvent. In a 2004 case, a farmer’s cattle walked on to a busy road, causing a serious accident. The court found him liable, even though the gate had been left open by a third-party walker. As above, the use of GPS collars with pre-programmed alerts can assist in averting tragedy and avoiding legal liability.

Food transparency is also becoming an increasingly important factor for consumers. Effective livestock monitoring has the effect of aiding traceability – and cloud-based record-keeping forms the basis of high-level systems in this regard.

Grazing

By knowing where cattle are grazing – and keeping records of rotation over time – farmers are better able to manage grazing and nutritional considerations around their herds. Cloud-based data records stand to simplify this and drive efficiencies.

Health

GPS cattle collars can be used for their health insights. By tracking movement (or stillness) of an individual animal, farmers can detect unusual movements and behaviour which could be a symptom of disease – around heat or cold stress, lameness, or calving for instance. Together with other smart livestock technologies, like the digestible bolus from Smarter Technologies, the detection of disease is becoming far easier. This technology provides readings and alerts around temperature for herd health management and breeding.

KEEP TRACK OF CATTLE THE SMARTER WAY

Smart GPS Cattle Collars from Smarter Technologies are the easy way to keep track of cattle. These high-powered devices are long-lasting and require reduced power to deliver real-time data to best effect for farmers. Contact Smarter Technologies today to find out more about incorporating this critical tool for herd management into your farming operations.