Aussie boffins create ‘fitbits’ for livestock

Tom ZaunmayrNarrogin Observer
VideoThe CSIRO and Ceres Tag have created a mew smart tag which could bring big time and cost savings to Aussie farmers

Fitbits have helped a generation of Australians discover their inner #fitspo models, and now a version of the wearable tech has been developed to help farmers keep track of wandering livestock.

The CSIRO and agtech startup Ceres Tag have unveiled new smart ear tags which produce similar data to that delivered by consumer smart watches.

Farmers can use the tags to track where their herds graze, watch for escapees and livestock theft, and even monitor unusual movement which could indicate pregnancy or illness.

Ceres Tag chief executive David Smith said the aim was to save farmers time and money compared to the cost of manual surveillance.

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“Ceres Tag gives greater transparency over grazing management, allowing farmers to locate and monitor their animals to reduce risk and operating costs, improve efficiency and assist with traceability,” he said.

“The tag is GPS-enabled, allowing farmers to track the location of individual animals remotely, via internet of things capability.”

CSIRO group leader Ed Charmley said future iterations of the tag would be able to provide more data on animal health and wellbeing.

“Aussie farmers need every bit of help they can get right now so we are pleased it has taken less than a year for this technology to move from the research phase into development for a real-world trial on cattle,” he said.

“Our focus for future iterations is to create a smaller and lighter tag, as well as added functionality such as a temperature sensor, which could alert farmers to illnesses at an earlier stage.”

Mr Charmley said the tags were designed to last the life of the animal in Australia’s harsh conditions.

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