Cow’s fitness tracker

November 29th, 2018

CSIRO and agtech startup Ceres Tag have created a new type of ‘fit bit’ to help farmers to keep track of where their livestock are and what they are doing.

The new technology, which takes the form of a smart ear tag, produces similar data to that delivered by consumer smart watches.

Using the device farmers can track where their herds graze, if an animal has escaped or been stolen, and even unusual movements which could indicate an animal is giving birth or sick.

The Robotic and Autonomous Systems Group at CSIRO’s Data61 is responsible for engineering of the CERES Tag, including the electronics and printed circuit board design, the manufacturing and the housing design.

The smart ear tag was successfully trialed on 100 cattle at CSIRO’s Lansdown Research Station near Townsville, Queensland.

The aim is to save farmers time and money compared to the costs of manually tracking their herds using vehicles or aircraft.

Using on-board accelerometers, the tag can send out alerts for unusual activity patterns which could be triggered by events like theft and other disturbances of the herd.

The tags aspire to be the world’s first smart ear tag accredited for provenance to international traceability standards, including Australia’s National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). They are designed for improved retention and to last throughout the life of the animal in Australia’s unique and often harsh conditions.

CSIRO and Ceres Tag will release further iterations of the smart ear tag, drawing on CSIRO’s deep livestock knowledge and the sensing and data analytics expertise of  Data61.

The development of the smart ear tag was co-funded by MLA Donor Company.