Smart Paddock is developing a system that will enable beef cattle farmers to remotely monitor the health, behaviour and location of their herds.

Its core technology is a small, multi-sensor, GPS tracking ear tag that will capture biometric data and send these to a cloud platform.

The data will be fed to a mobile application and web dashboard that will enable farmers to be alerted to early signs of illness, track location of the herd better manage their pasture.

“The system will analyse the vast amount of movement data to assist the farmer in managing pasture utilisation and letting the farmer know when the best time is to move the herd between paddocks,” Smart Paddock says. “The system will automatically detect behaviour traits of the animals, so the farmer can select the best animals for breeding.

There are several simple single feature tags on the market, but they are all from overseas vendors, designed for the diary industry and will not work in extensive broad-acre beef operations, according to Smart Paddock.

“These existing products … don’t provide the wide range of features that the Smart Paddock tags provide,” the company says. “The use of GPS technology to give accurate location data has not been implemented previously in these existing products. Accurate GPS location allows for advanced behaviour and pasture management analysis.”

The Smart Paddock system uses LoRaWAN to communicate with the ear tags and the LoRaWAN gateways communicate to Microsoft’s Azure cloud over Telstra’s CatM1 network.

Telstra has supported Smart Paddock through its muru-d accelerator program and by allowing Smart Paddock to share the Telstra stand at various Australian farm expos.

Smart Paddock has developed several prototypes and is testing these in a number of paddocks to verify the design. Once this testing is complete we will start commercialisation.

The company says it has interviewed more than 150 cattle producers and has seen strong interest from multiple universities, government agencies and support from Meat and Livestock Australia.

Smart Paddock is also looking to encourage farmers to implement other IoT devices on their properties and share the LoRaWAN gateways.

The Smart Paddock cattle monitor is a finalist in the Best Primary Industry Project category in the 2018 Australian IoT Awards being held at the IoT Festival on 4 June in Melbourne.