Technology Treat on Beef, Townsville Bulletin, 13 May 2015

SCIENTISTS have created a computer network which could revolutionise the way graziers farm and improve the Northern Australia beef industry’s profitability.

The director of James Cook University’s eResearch program, Professor Ian Atkinson, is leading the Digital Homestead project, which evaluates how information and communications technology, particularly the National Broadband Network and sensors, can improve cattle grazing.

The project started in 2012 and has brought together scientists from JCU, CSIRO, the Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

The team fitted solar-powered behaviour and tracking collars to cattle (pictured) and installed walkover weigh stations to monitor their condition, using satellite technology to keep an eye on pasture performance and grazing capacity, and sensors to collect data on weather and water levels in dams.

Researchers then tied all the inputs together into a “digital dashboard” farmers could access from their PCs.

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