28 November 2017
Smart Livestock Collars Give Ranchers a Powerful New Tool to Prevent Cattle Loss
Powered by Sigfox’s global IoT network, real-time health monitoring devices help ranchers intervene quickly during illness or predator threats.
For centuries, range riders have been the eyes and ears of a ranch, warding off threats, identifying sick or injured animals and removing carcasses before they attract predators. But even the most effective range rider can’t be everywhere at once. On vast expanses of ranchland, it’s easy to miss an animal that has fallen ill, or overlook a carcass for several days. And a pack of wolves lurking at the edge of a herd can easily go undetected, especially at night.
Now, thanks to smart livestock collars, ranchers and range riders can worry a little less and sleep a little easier. Powered by Sigfox’s global IoT network, these collars are revolutionizing modern ranching as we know it. By giving ranchers access to real-time information about each animal’s speed, body temperature, stress level and more, the durable, lightweight collars have the power to greatly improve the health and safety of herds worldwide.
Ranchers Seek a Better Way to Monitor Health and Safety of Herds and Mitigate Losses
Thankfully, the IoT is here to help. Using the Sigfox network, IoT manufacturers have developed a series of wireless monitoring devices that can be placed inside tanks to monitor chemical levels remotely. The device, which is powered by battery without the need for wires, constantly monitors storage levels and sends data to an online dashboard so that employees of the water management company can log in from anywhere in the world to check levels. Better still, the device will send out warning alerts whenever stock falls below a certain threshold, allowing staff to rectify the situation immediately. By investing in wireless monitoring, water management companies will be to optimize their stock, avoid expensive emergency deliveries and improve the quality and reliability of their service. Not bad for a device that will ultimately save them manpower, too.
Even in a herd of hundreds, the unnecessary loss of just one animal—whether to predator or illness— carries an economic impact. And over time, small losses add up.
Take a mid-sized rancher with 700 head of cattle. One month, a wolf pack kills three of his cattle during the middle of the night. The next month, a cow dies after falling ill from anaplasmosis. Had the rancher noticed the signs of feverishness and anemia soon enough, he might have been able to treat the parasite and save the animal. But with over a thousand acres of rangeland to monitor, it’s easy to miss something like this in a single cow.
To top off these losses, by the time the rancher discovered the carcass of the animal that died from anaplasmosis, it’s scent had drawn a new wolf pack to the herd. A few days later, that pack claimed two more animals. Even if the rancher doesn’t lose any more cattle all season, these six losses add up to several thousand dollars of lost revenue come auction time.
Incidents like these happen fast. Short of sending hundreds of range riders out to monitor the herd around the clock, how is the rancher supposed to catch every illness and threat in time to prevent unnecessary deaths? Smart livestock collars may be just the solution he’s looking for.
Advanced Monitoring Capabilities Improve the Health and Safety of Herds
If our rancher outfits each of his cattle with a smart livestock collar, he suddenly has access to a powerful body of information about each animal, all delivered in real time to his smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.
Developed by veterinarians, ranchers and engineers who understand the unique challenges of modern ranching, each collar gathers real-time information about an animal’s speed, body temperature, stress level and movement patterns. This information is then delivered to a user-friendly app via Sigfox’s global IoT network. Unlike most first-generation smart applications, devices that connect to the Sigfox network don’t rely on WiFi or 4G, making them an ideal solution for even the furthest reaches of the ranch.
But that’s not all. Powerful behavioral algorithms—customized for cattle, horses, sheep or goats—analyze information from each animal’s collar. Alert notifications are generated if an anomaly or important event occurs. If the herd feels threatened by a pack of wolves, the rancher is alerted to a sudden change in stress level. If anaplasmosis causes an animal to grow feverish and move slowly, he’ll see the warning signs in plenty of time to intervene. And if an animal does die while in the far reaches of the range, the app will alert the rancher in real time, so he can dispose of the carcass before predators begin to move in.