Livestock Monitoring in Agriculture Using IoT

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The global agricultural community is under immense pressure to expand agriculture production to produce enough food for the world population. Livestock monitoring in agriculture holds tremendous importance for the livelihood of the farmers. 

Concerns related to land and water resources, coupled with climate changes, add to farmers’ struggle to manage livestock and crops. Reducing wastage and overall costs have also become a higher priority for farm management systems.  

After all, a penny saved is a penny earned. In such a scenario, the Internet of Things (IoT) role becomes crucial in livestock monitoring. The farming community can optimize their livestock health using remote livestock monitoring solutions and data-driven decision making thereby leading to smart farming. IoT is rapidly changing the way the livestock industry operates today.

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What is IoT-Enabled Livestock Monitoring?

Monitoring of livestock uses IoT-enabled devices to track and monitor the health of livestock, most commonly cattle. It is also known as livestock management or precision livestock farming.

The traditional methods of monitoring livestock involve individually inspecting animals for signs of disease or injury. it also involves behavior monitoring  This method is both highly unreliable and costly.

Recent studies found that lung scarring and lesions in 37 per cent of cattle never get diagnosed. Surveys conducted at the Meat Animal Research Center revealed that 68 percent of steers tested showed signs of past respiratory infection. Although the animals recover independently, they never catch up to the healthy herd in value or health.

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Livestock Monitoring – Problem Areas

IoT solutions and smart devices have started making considerable transformations in sectors like livestock and farming. It has become almost impossible to imagine life without IoT as everything is connected around us via the Internet.

Agriculture has been the first domain that has embraced IoT in the past few years, and the results are now overwhelming. 

One cannot ignore the fact that it is rapidly changing the way the livestock industry works. The use of intelligent devices and sensors has enable farmers to track their livestock without running around with them wherever they go. 

The livestock monitoring system allows real-time tracking of livestock. It helps in solving many problems faced in the livestock industry. Some of the issues faced by the livestock industry include higher rates of animal mortality, no tracking of livestock, especially when the numbers are significantly large. 

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IoT based Livestock Monitoring Systems

Since the livestock industry is vast, it is essential to keep track of livestock and other farm animals. The livestock monitoring system is a revolutionary solution designed and developed using sensors, GPS, etc., which are integrated with a network protocol for communication. 

Farmers use this remote monitoring system to keep a check on their farm animals. A livestock tracker device is attached to collars and can keep track of animal health. It can record the chewing patterns, location details, pasture management, among other parameters. 

A monitoring system helps in managing farm animals as well as other farm equipment.

Uses of IoT Enabled Livestock Monitoring System

1 Monitoring health levels

Monitoring of health levels of livestock is crucial for preventing illness and diagnosing diseases earlier. IoT solutions use wearables like electronic bands. These electronic bands can stream the data to the cloud. 

These bands are mounted on the animal, while the built-in sensors in them help to capture data. This data is transmitted to the cloud, and farmers are notified about several factors that directly impact livestock health. 

The farmer can now monitor respiratory rate, heart rate, digestion levels, blood pressure levels in real-time. This enables him to stay up-to-date with their cattle’s health levels. Additionally, tracking these parameters leads to a significant reduction in livestock feeding problems.

To get healthy products from livestock, the livestock animals must be healthy. IoT enabled monitoring system helps in keeping a check on the health of the livestock. The farmers can monitor the grazing patterns and take better decisions for livestock weight, food timings, etc. 

If livestock gets sick, you can track the medicine timings and behaviour and the calving, lactation period, etc. The livestock can produce more nutritious milk with proper feed and better digestion. The temperature sensors can help in detecting symptoms of fever early so that animals can get better care.

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2 Monitoring reproductive cycle

Traditionally tracking the reproductive cycle is a very tedious process. IoT enabled monitoring systems can make this task much more accessible. IoT-enabled monitoring systems eliminate the need for manual cow supervision during the calving process. 

A connected IoT device helps in monitoring and measuring a cow when it goes into heat. A cow can be in heat for around eight hours. The farmer can be notified by the same device when the cow goes into labor. This leads to a safer calving process and promotes safer and successful calf births.

3 Location tracking

It is pretty standard for livestock to separate themselves from the herd, especially when they are ill or in heat. Most of the time, farmers face a tough time locating these livestock who get separated. IoT wearables eliminate this hassle and can trace the livestock immediately. 

IoT devices track the movement pattern of animals, find them and help to optimize their grazing habits. Additionally, the sensors integrated into the IoT device can notify the farmer when cattle’s behavior changes.

It has become imperative to keep an eye on the locations where the livestock goes and track the behaviour of animals. IoT based LMS can track your livestock location 24 by 7. Tracking your animals’ behaviour and keeping an eye on the locations wherever they go is essential nowadays. 

With the monitoring system, you can locate the lost animal and launch a rescue operation without losing time. The system has an integrated GPS tracker and geofencing feature. The geofencing feature allows you by which it becomes easier to create grazing boundaries for the cow and other farm animals.

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4 Maximizing livestock livelihood

One of the crucial tasks of the farmer is to monitor the behaviour of herds. IoT devices make it easy to correlate cattle movement with specific behaviors such as lying down to chew the cud or pasturing. Monitoring cattle behaviour helps the farmer quickly identify if the cow needs to be milked. IoT devices can help to measure the milking amount and speed. It can also track the amount of food a cow consumed and the number of steps it walked in a day.

The sensors embedded within wearables tied around the cow’s neck help farmers supervise the session based on the needs personally. The data gathered from the cow’s activity permits the farmer to help improve cows diet and increase lactation. IoT, along with rich data-driven insights, can help farmers to improve the way they monitor their livestock.

5 Reduction in livestock mortality rate

Sometimes farmers give antibiotics or steroids to their livestock to get additional products. These antibiotics can harm livestock in ways that can also lead to the loss of animal’s lives. 

With the monitoring system, you can track your livestock’s eating habits and give them good feed for better produce. 

If farm animals suffer from a disease, illness can be diagnosed and treated before it’s too late. This way, the monitoring system helps in reducing the livestock mortality rate. 

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6 Identification of livestock and better security

The identification of animals is easy and less stressful with monitoring systems. Tracking of birth details, breed, identification marks etc., is made a lot easier and is streamlined. 

The farmers can monitor the production record of the livestock. The tags make the task easier for identifying the livestock, and their security is also increased. This reduces the risks of theft and lost cases. 

7 Improved pasture management

IoT based monitoring systems are helpful in improving the pasture or grass which animals eat. Farmers can track the movement of cattle and the area where they are grazing. 

This ensures that animals get to eat nutritious grass, and farmers can get better products from them. It will lead to an increase in the profit which farmers earn from livestock.

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Working of IoT enabled Livestock Monitoring System

The IoT enabled cattle monitoring system is turning out to be a game-changer for livestock. The farm animals wear an adjustable tracker. The tracker device is lightweight and small in size. This is made so that animals don’t find it bulky over their body. 

The tracker device is integrated with the GPS tracker and sensors. This allows the farmers to monitor the animals’ movements and health 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system is designed to keep track of behaviour of livestock. The behavioral tracking feature of the system can help the farmers to know what their livestock are eating

There are mobile apps and web applications or IoT Dashboards associated with the hardware. With the help of the application associated with the device, farmers can create virtual boundaries with geofencing to secure the locations where the livestock can move freely. 

Alerts are sent to the mobile application from the tracker if the livestock moves beyond defined boundaries. When livestock is eating or drinking something toxic, it sends alerts. In this manner, the farmers can save their livestock from health issues. 

The system can work on LoRa low power wide area network(LPWAN). It is used for the surveillance of farming equipment and to save them from theft.

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Bottom Line

Decision making will be based on real-time data and not on the gut feeling of the farmer. An IoT solution for livestock backed up by real-time data can provide key insights into all aspects of farming livestock. 

Farmers can make better decisions with these management solutions that can reduce waste and increase maximum efficiency. They can start reaping more significant revenue and productivity by integrating a animal monitoring system.

You can read more about trending agricultural topics in our blog section.

3 thoughts on “Livestock Monitoring in Agriculture Using IoT

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