GPS is building Virtual technology boundary for cattle

GPS is building Virtual technology boundary for cattle

December 14, 2020
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Tracking cattle through RFID Tags and GPS technology

Cattle rearing has traditionally been a labour intensive job with a lot of time and money spent in maintaining the grazing areas through fencing. Cattle theft is another problem that leads to huge losses with over 70% of unreported livestock theft every year. There have been some technological solutions to these problems in the recent years. Geofencing for livestock tracking has been a successful solution in solving this problem. Geofencing technology is an extension of location services, a common system included with most smartphones, computers, watches, and some specialized tracking devices.

This monitoring technology offers many benefits to farmers. It has various potentials such as monitoring the movements, patterns of plot grazing, water combating theft, prevention of various diseases, reducing the manual labor, easy identification of the animal, etc. Farmers are rapidly adopting this technology so as to save the time spent on doing things manually and use it to attend to other important farm matters that need attention. Utilizing GPS tracking device for cattle has proved to be the best option to monitor all activities of your animals and gain real-time information to make well-informed decisions.

How does GPS tracking work for cattle monitoring

Geofencing essentially creates a virtual fence or imaginary boundary on a map. It can include alerts to notify in case the device moves into or out of the boundary defined by the virtual fence. It can be used as an effective alternative for ground based fencing to control livestock. To implement the technology, the animal is fitted with a collar with Global Positioning System (GPS) sensors that can deliver information about the location to a remote mobile based device. A virtual boundary is defined, in an event of trespass, an acoustic warning or mild electric stimulus is administered to the animal which guides it to remain confined to the defined boundary.

The location tracking feature also reduces the chances of loss due to theft or animals losing track in absence of physical monitoring. Geofencing has also helped overgrazing or grazing in the restricted farmlands.  The information collected by Livestock tracking solution can also be uploaded into many key animal management software packages that can be helpful for behavioural and animal health related studies.

Each RFID tag has a unique 12-digit identification number, which contains the cow’s ID number, date of birth, health records, and migration status. It is pierced in the ear or implanted in skin of the animal and is read using RFID readers. Other useful information about the animals like Calving date, Vaccination information, Hormones, weight gain, weight loss, medications are also recorded to better monitor their health.

Focus Agritech’s Outlook

The share of livestock in the agricultural sector GDP growth has been increasing faster than the crop sector in the past decade, reason being the rising demand for livestock products propelled by income and population growth and urbanization. Information and Communication Technology has found a significant place to rejuvenate traditional agriculture. It’s time to scale these technologies to allied sectors, most importantly to animal husbandry to ensure efficiency and better income for the farmers.

Livestock monitoring, tracking, security and recovery solutions with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), GPS and IoT technologies and real-time data feedback is still in nascent stages in India. Given the significance of the livestock sector for its contribution to GDP (6% with 25% share in agricultural GDP); livestock management would have the attention it deserves. We believe that this relatively unexplored area with huge potential is a good area to venture into for technology companies.

Companies to watch: CSIRO, Agersens, NFC Group

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