From self-driving tractors to robot farmers, there are plenty of ways that the agricultural world is adjusting to the tech revolution. Adding yet another innovation to the collection is Australian startup Ceres Tag, which has developed a new smart ear tag for cattle.
The sensor-filled ear tag is likened to a smart watch in terms of the data it can gather. This includes information about where herds are grazing, whether an animal has escaped or been stolen, or even analyzing movement to suggest if it is unwell or about to give birth. All of this can be delivered wirelessly to the farmer in real time.
“Ceres Tag has three primary capabilities: GPS location, movement and temperature monitoring for diagnostics of health, behavior, and biosecurity,” Ceres Tag CEO David Smith told Digital Trends. “What makes them so remarkable is the high retention system [meaning] no tag loss, no battery replacement required for the life of the animal, no range limitations with low earth orbit satellite coverage, and aspirations to be internationally identification accredited.”
The ear tag, which is designed to be durable and able to withstand the rigors of an outdoor lifestyle, has already been successfully trialed on 100 cattle in Queensland, Australia. It is touted by its creators as both a time and money saver — especially in scenarios in which farmers might otherwise have to resort to using aircraft to track their herds.
“It may have significant financial implications as the known location, number of head and condition of animal could create a new type of asset class,” Smith continued. “The diagnostics also offer confidence of healthy animals as well. However, from a farmer perspective, efficiencies can be achieved in mustering, pasture efficiency, and progeny.”
Ceres Tags aren’t yet available to buy, with a worldwide launch planned for sometime in 2020. In the meantime, the team is continuing to explore smaller and lighter form factors, along with adding additional sensing technology which may prove useful. The technology is additionally being closely integrated with a related data analytics platform. The hope is that this should provide farmers with richer, more detailed information than they have had previously available to them.