Technological innovations such as livestock GPS tracking have the potential to revolutionise the UK’s farming sector.
The world’s population is expected to grow to around 9.8 billion by 2050; in the UK, the population is expected to exceed 70 million by 2031. To feed that many people, we will need to produce as much as 70 percent more food than what we currently do. One solution to this growing demand will be smart farming powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables technologies such as livestock GPS tracking.
What is smart farming?
A broad definition of smart farming is the use of digital technology to improve farming efforts. In other words, how farmers can use sensors, cameras and other devices to gain a holistic view of their farm, adapt to changes and adjust operations to improve their results.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated devices and machines with the ability to transfer data over a network. This transfer does not require human-to-human nor human-to-computer interaction and is used to help autonomous machines make accurate decisions.
How is IoT used in farming?
IoT technology aids in optimising efficiencies and reducing the risks associated with farming. For example, if a farmer installs a sensor on a tractor or piece of equipment, the collected data will send a warning once a part is about to wear out, allowing farms to avoid costly lapses in operations. To put it another way, IoT gives farmers a visibility they didn’t possess before.
There are various examples of IoT technology that can be used according to the needs of a particular area. Some of these include livestock GPS tracking, automation, sensors and monitoring devices and smart greenhouse hardware.
The application of IoT in livestock GPS tracking, for example, has helped to revolutionise the farming sector and deliver tangible benefits to farmers.
Livestock GPS tracking
One example of how IoT technology is being used in farming is with livestock GPS tracking. IoT technology such as cattle collars allows farmers to gain remote visibility on the location of their livestock. The smart tag sends out a signal every 15 minutes, straight to a livestock management dashboard. This means that farmers can remotely monitor the location of their cattle at any time, from anywhere. They can also set up specific geofences and alerts to notify them if their livestock moves out of a designated area.
The ability to monitor cattle is particularly important considering that cattle theft is currently the third most costly crime for the UK’s farming sector, after agricultural vehicle and machinery theft. Not only does this kind of crime cause financial damage and untold suffering to animals, but it can also cause anxiety for farmers who have built up their herds over many years. Because many cattle farmers have such large herds, they’re only able to detect missing cows after days have passed, and with profit margins already tight, finding out too late about missing cattle can be financially devastating.
A missing cow can also take a long time to locate, but with livestock GPS tracking, farmers can save both time and money since they will be able to locate individual animals in real time Added to this, the collars could also help to identify preferred grazing areas, allowing farmers to adapt management regimes accordingly. The data also has the potential to help farmers study a herd’s social interaction and their contact with other animals. Knowing where animals are can potentially reduce gathering times, help identify sick animals and shed light on grazing habits.
Smarter Technologies’ farming solutions
Smarter Technologies works with farmers to create bespoke farming solutions. From livestock security to asset tracking monitoring and recovery, our Orion Data Network system feeds back real-time data on the location, health and security of your livestock and other valuable assets. This data is critical in allowing you to protect and secure your rural business and home. Not only will Smarter Technologies farm solutions raise productivity but they will assist in automating the farming process to help combat labour shortages and attract young farming talent through the use of modern technology.
Our cattle collar tracks and monitors the location of every individual in the herd. This enables you to:
- Prevent livestock theft
- Track and recover stolen animals
- Count stock within a matter of minutes
- Identify individual animals with ease
- Detect unusual behaviour
- Save time by accessing location information in the palm of your hand
- GeoFence to prevent animals from straying out of the designated grazing area
- Gain complete visibility of your cattle’s location at all times
Farmers who use digital technology to achieve precision livestock farming gain a competitive advantage and create economically viable, sustainable and more environmentally-friendly businesses.