CSIRO eyes leaps and bounds in cattle tagging

THE CSIRO is currently investigating the ability to capture and store more information in cattle identification ear tags, according to research scientist Tim Wark.

“In a short amount of time for the same cost with these type of tags we will have the ability to get a rough location, the amount of time spent grazing and weight,” he said.

“That would completely change the way we monitor and optimize the management of cattle.”

Dr Wark was one of the guest speakers at the Marcus Oldham College information and communication technologies for agriculture conference recently.

He said the CSIRO was also studying devices that could be embedded in the rumen of animals to change the way animals are monitored and managed better.

With advances in micro-electronics within 10 years, chips could also be embedded under the skin or swallowed by animals to allow monitoring of important parameters.

Another area the CSIRO was involved in was satellite remote sensing, where estimates of pastures quantity and quality could be assessed and monitoring the location of animals on large northern beef properties.

The CSIRO was also interested in developing smaller and more cost effective soil moisture sensors.

In another area, Dr Wark said advances in micro-climate monitoring would allow temperature inversion in crops to be measured and decisions to be made about crop dusting.

3D laser technology used in the mining industry for mapping was becoming cheaper as well and could be used to estimate pasture quantities.

“An individual producer can now spend $5000-$10,000 and have this equipment on their property,” Dr Wark said.

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