Australian tech startup Ceres Tag has developed a smart ear tag for cattle that can track location and provide data to farmers on the health and movements of their herds.
According to the company, the tag is the livestock equivalent of a smartwatch or fitness tracker. Developed in partnership with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the device uses GPS and onboard accelerometers. Unusual patterns of behaviour trigger notifications that alert farmers when animals escape, give birth or appear to be stolen. It’s expected that Ceres Tag will save farmers significant time and cost in comparison to manually monitoring herds from the ground or air.
“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,” said David Smith, CEO of Ceres Tag.
“The tag is GPS-enabled, allowing farmers to track the location of individual animals remotely, via Internet of Things (IoT) capability.”
According to CSIRO, the penknife-sized device has been ruggedised for the challenging Australian climate and designed for durability. Its energy harvesting and conservation technology is IP protected and it’s claimed that it will power connectivity and data transfer for the lifetime of the animal. A recent trial saw the smart ear tag successfully trialled on 100 cattle at CSIRO’s Lansdown Research Station near Townsville, Queensland.
“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,” said Dr Ed Charmley, group leader at CSIRO.
“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.”
As well as improved health monitoring, future models of the tag may also support features such as virtual fencing.