Livestock Monitoring

The CSIRO have developed and tested a new solar powered wireless animal sensor node (also known as a ‘platform’). The node can be deployed to monitor the behaviour of cattle, tracking their location and movements up to 4 times every second.

Data collected from this platform can give insight into the current and aggregated behavioural patterns of individual animals or groups of animals. It is possible to differentiate when an individual animal is eating, ruminating or resting. This platform is flexible and has the capacity for the addition of new sensor types as required.

Behavioural algorithms developed by CSIRO in related work could be embedded in the platform for real time monitoring of herd behaviour. An example of this is provided below in Figure 1.

An example of this is provided at right which shows a spatial representation of where in the paddock animals graze and ruminate. Green represents areas where this activity is infrequent, red where these activities are more frequent.

Figure 1 – Spatial map displaying how a herd  grazes and ruminates in a pasture, green represents areas where activity is infrequent while red indicates more frequent activity.

In addition CSIRO have trialled Walk Over Weighing (WOW) stations that are co-located with water resources and supplements to measure cattle condition. Once cattle are trained WOW stations can be usefully deployed to monitor animal growth rates, see Figure 2.

Graph of cattle live weights - The solid line represents the average of the herd over time, while the dotted line represents the daily herd chang.

Figure 2 – Graph of cattle live weights, the solid line represents the average of the herd over time, while the dotted line represents the daily herd change.

The WOW technologies are being trialled at both Lansdown and Spy Glass research stations.