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Smart tags being developed by AWI aim to enable woolgrowers to track, monitor and assess the status of their stock in real time – and make better informed decisions to contribute to their enterprise’s profitability.
The system being developed by AWI involves using smart tags on individual sheep in a flock to remotely monitor the sheep via a computer, tablet or mobile device.
The technology provides a combination of accelerometer (measuring the acceleration of a moving animal), proximity and position data to track the movement and activity of the animals and control the interactions between them.
The smart tags would be either an ‘ear tag’ that would last for several years on the sheep, or ‘collar tag’ that would be used temporarily on lambs while they are mothering up. The ear tags would be put on the sheep when they are mustered in the yard, for example at lamb marking or shearing.
Ear tag: Solar powered, permanent tags for adult animals.
Collar tag: Battery powered, reusable tag for adult and young animals.
The tags could be used for several purposes, such as monitoring the location and movement of individual sheep and mobs in the flock, and the distribution of the sheep within the paddock. This would be useful information if you want to know for example where and when the sheep prefer to graze, drink and shelter, or simply to know where you can locate the sheep.
The tags have already proved to be very useful for monitoring the interactions between animals for mothering up.
In addition to these direct applications, smart tags could be used for several research and data analysis purposes to help woolgrowers optimise their flock’s productivity. For example, in relation to flystrike management, wild dog alerts, grazing optimisation, health alerts and reproduction optimisation.
Being equipped with comprehensive data would enable woolgrowers to make ‘data informed decisions’.
Importantly, the system is being designed to be a labour saving innovation, aimed at taking some of the hard work and time out of wool-growing and contribute to an enterprise’s bottom line. It could be used as an alternative to some of the jobs normally done in a ute or on a bike.
The technology is being designed to be low cost, long lasting and self-sufficient.
The system is to be made up of different components that all communicate with each other via wireless technology and to even be accessible while off the farm using the internet.
The system will utilise internet connection that could be provided by a wireless network.
AWI will continue development and trials to test materials and cultivate further applications prior to a public release.
If you want to be notified of developments as they happen, please register your interest by emailing your name and contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org