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Precision Livestock
Production: GPS
Animal TrackingZac Economou
The Precision Agriculture Research Group
 A group of lecturers and researchers
from across UNE
 Agronomy
 Animal scienc...
What are the challenges in grazing
systems?
 Soils – nutrient management, fertiliser is one of
the biggest inputs to a gr...
GPS tracking in the Mallee…
GPS tracking sheep in the Mallee
Why…
 Can we quantify how sheep graze Mallee
landscapes?
 Do sheep use different soil z...
The sheep…
 200 ewes grazed in the paddock
 27 GPS collars deployed (we lost a
few)
 Locations tracked every 7 minutes
GPS tracking…
Summer Grazing
1 2
3 4
Winter Grazing
Paddock utilsiation
Autonomous Livestock
Monitoring
(Livestock tracking)
RBT/GPS and IMU
(accelerometer)
EarTag
GPS collar, store-on-board
and...
Hmm, they
were here this
morning???
Where are my animals?
Meanwhile
2km down
the road
More than just “where are my cows?”
Clinical/sub-clinical disease detection
Barwick, Trotter, Dobos, Welch, Schnieder and Economou (2014) Understanding sheep ...
Autonomous livestock management
(Virtual fencing)
Virtual Fencing?
Next steps – can we use to rotationally
graze?
Conclusion
 We need to understand variation as well as quantify it.
 A number of technologies are on their way.
 Questi...
Precision livestock production gps animal tracking - Zac Economou (UNE)
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Precision livestock production gps animal tracking - Zac Economou (UNE)

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GPS tracking sheep in the Mallee
Why…
 Can we quantify how sheep graze Mallee
landscapes?
 Do sheep use different soil zones differently
across a field?
 If there is differential grazing pressure, how does
that translate into an impact on ground cover,
biomass etc.?
 What are the potential applications of this sort of
data?

Published in: Science
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Precision livestock production gps animal tracking - Zac Economou (UNE)

  1. 1. Precision Livestock Production: GPS Animal TrackingZac Economou
  2. 2. The Precision Agriculture Research Group  A group of lecturers and researchers from across UNE  Agronomy  Animal science  Physics  Computational science  Adjunct staff  NSW DPI  Vic DEPI  Students  Honours  PhD
  3. 3. What are the challenges in grazing systems?  Soils – nutrient management, fertiliser is one of the biggest inputs to a grazing system  Quantifying pastures – having access to information around the amount, growth rate and quality of pasture to enable optimal stocking rate  Animal monitoring – understanding where your animals are up to in terms of production, health and welfare  Labour – using labour more efficiently, it’s the biggest cost in most farming operations
  4. 4. GPS tracking in the Mallee…
  5. 5. GPS tracking sheep in the Mallee Why…  Can we quantify how sheep graze Mallee landscapes?  Do sheep use different soil zones differently across a field?  If there is differential grazing pressure, how does that translate into an impact on ground cover, biomass etc.?  What are the potential applications of this sort of data?
  6. 6. The sheep…  200 ewes grazed in the paddock  27 GPS collars deployed (we lost a few)  Locations tracked every 7 minutes
  7. 7. GPS tracking…
  8. 8. Summer Grazing 1 2 3 4
  9. 9. Winter Grazing
  10. 10. Paddock utilsiation
  11. 11. Autonomous Livestock Monitoring (Livestock tracking) RBT/GPS and IMU (accelerometer) EarTag GPS collar, store-on-board and part of herd Real-time data delivery
  12. 12. Hmm, they were here this morning??? Where are my animals? Meanwhile 2km down the road
  13. 13. More than just “where are my cows?”
  14. 14. Clinical/sub-clinical disease detection Barwick, Trotter, Dobos, Welch, Schnieder and Economou (2014) Understanding sheep behaviour from a tri-axial accelerometer. 2014 Australian and New Zealand Spatially Enabled Livestock Management Symposium, Hamilton NZ, Ed J Roberts, 18th November 2014, p. 9.
  15. 15. Autonomous livestock management (Virtual fencing)
  16. 16. Virtual Fencing?
  17. 17. Next steps – can we use to rotationally graze?
  18. 18. Conclusion  We need to understand variation as well as quantify it.  A number of technologies are on their way.  Questions needs to be answered before they are commercially available.  Offer a more precise way to manage animals and pasture

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