Applications > Livestock Sensors
The farming industry is an important sector of the global economy with an annual turnover of hundreds of billion dollars. This sector consumes large land size for farming and employs couple of million people worldwide. Cattle, colloquially referred to as cows, are domesticated and raised as livestock for meat (called beef and veal), It is estimated that there are 1.4 billion head of cattle and 1.2 billion sheep being reared in the world today, either as livestock or for milking purposes. For dairy products (milking cows), according to market analysis there are around 100 million milking cows globally in medium/large farms.
The main markets for this application is USA, China and Australia where large farms are in need of better controlling systems to monitor cattle in an open area and improve efficiency in the milking process to maximize the number of milking sessions for each cow in a single day. Some of the applications that we see today are illustrating a live fence mechanism in which cattle that cross the farm zone will get an electric shock to prevent it to leave the premises and provide the farmer with a better control on his herd.
Wireless sensors are deployed in several ways, either as static networks deployed measuring soil moisture, cow movement etc., or even mobile sensors deployed on individual animals, monitoring animal behavior, health, temperature, etc.
There are also cheap ear-tag solutions that are very popular today and are being replaced daily by active collars or active leg-tags. Passive tags are commonly used for individual cattle identification, which are used for track and trace rather than sensing. However, some use passive RFID sensors to monitor cattle. Others use active RFID for longer-range tracking.
There are several research institutes around the globe that are testing different method of monitoring and collecting the information and there are also several commercial companies that are developing and selling their tracking and monitoring solutions in the market in various designs. This is a fast growing market and new players moving from passive solutions to the more advance monitoring elements.
Despite the advantages in using an active collar for monitoring, the maintenance and labor costs when the battery is drained are quite high since the collars are sealed to prevent malfunction, it requires to break the seal and to re-seal it after replacing the battery.
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