Startup agribusiness Smart Paddock is using Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technology to help farmers keep an eye on their cattle.

The company has deployed proprietary solar powered Bluebell tags and collars to collect biometric data through IoT sensors. No longer do farmers have to wait until the cows come home, they can locate their cattle at any time using GPS data stored in Microsoft’s cloud.

According to Darren Wolchyn, the founder and CEO of Smart Paddock, “Because they are very social animals, we can take this data and provide relevant and actionable insights to not just improve farm efficiency and long-term sustainability but also the animal’s own health and wellbeing.”

Beyond that, the data provides farmers with insights through temperature sensors, accelerometer and GPS data to monitor if their cows are calving.

Darren Wolchyn, founder and CEO, Smart Paddock

“We are using the data we’re collecting from our devices to alert farmers when the animals are actually calving, detecting how long they are calving for.”

This data is critical to reducing calf mortality, improving both the financial position of farmers and the health of the livestock.

Another problem that Smart Paddock is focussing on is biosecurity. The company claims that its products will detect illness and disease and act as an “early warning system”, by measuring their behaviours and interactions.

In order to connect this technology to often remote farms, Smart Paddock is utilising LoRaWAN gateways to the internet as well as pursuing Low Earth Orbit satellites where there is low to no mobile network coverage.

“One of the things we’re really looking at is if we could drop these types of gateways down on the farm and they can be solar powered and satellite connected. You could literally drop them anywhere out in the world basically. So we’re really starting to look at using low Earth orbit satellites for backhaul connectivity,” he says.

Finally, the data can also provide farmers with a better understanding of the risks facing their cattle, including wild dog attacks.

Using location data through this GPS technology, we may eventually know for sure who really let the dogs out. 

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