That IoT has a huge potential in the entire food and farming domain is illustrated by the IoF2020 project. This large-scale project subsidized by the European Commission shows that all objects in food and farming, whether we’re talking about cattle or agricultural machines, can be turned into smart webs of connected objects. Objects that are context-sensitive and can be identified, sensed and controlled remotely.
This blog post discusses the advantages of using IoT, more specifically autonomous trackers, in the food and farming domain. Furthermore, the project has shown that IoT can drive innovation and a more democratic way of sharing data in the food and farming domain. The findings we discuss in this blog post are part of our research for IoF2020, for which we collaborate with ILVO, the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture and Fishing.
Always be aware of the location of your cattle
A lot of traditional tracking systems in the food and farming domain are satellite-based and require additional infrastructure. Like for example, RFID. This works well if you want to know how many cattle are inside a stable but not if your cattle are grazing outside. Most farmers though want to know the state and location of their cattle when they are outdoors as well.
As a test case for the IoF2020 project, seventy cows from the beef cattle farm Saeftingherhof were equipped with autonomous trackers. Saeftingherhof is located at the border between Belgium and the Netherlands at a delta of many mud flats and salt marshes that fill up twice a day with water from the river Schelde. Let’s look a bit more in-depth at the results of this test case.
Tracking cattle to farm in a smart way
Significantly decrease the time looking for cattle
Without a tracking solution, it took the farmer from Saeftingherhof up to three hours to locate his cattle. Only by walking around on his land he could see how his cattle were doing, quite time-intensive labor.
By tracking his cattle, the physical time spent on the field looking for his cattle significantly decreased, leading to optimal time management.
Receive alerts if your cattle’s well being is endangered
As mentioned, without a tracking solution in place a farmer is never really up-to-date about his animals’ well being. Not knowing a hundred percent sure how your animals are doing, creates uncertainty and stress.
With a solution in place, you have the ability to track and know the position of each animal at any point in time. Each time an anomaly is detected, an email will automatically be sent out. The farmer from Saeftingherhof indicated this reduced his stress level enormously.
Stop losing cattle and save money
For farmers who apply free natural grazing, losing cattle is one of the main issues they are confronted with every year. The farmer at Saeftingherhof would lose at least two cows on a yearly basis because they got stuck in the ditch and died.
Within the test period, two cows that were trapped have been saved from death. The farmer discovered these endangered cows because he received alerts that the cows were no longer moving and given their location he could see they were in need of help.
If you know that an average cow costs two thousand five hundred euros, this is a recovered potential revenue loss of approximately five thousand euros. Recovering these cows is a huge benefit compared to the rather small investment in Sensolus trackers.
Possibilities in farming beyond tracking cattle
Tracking your cattle is not the only possibility with Sensolus trackers in farming and food. To always know where your agricultural machines are and how they are used, you can also equip them with autonomous trackers.
By knowing how and when your agricultural machines are used, you can optimize the allocation of your machines and identify idle equipment. Besides this, you can also plan maintenance exactly when it is needed, avoiding unnecessary costs.
As this test case illustrates quite well, using IoT in food and farming can empower people who are active in this industry. By simply installing autonomous trackers, data access moves to the level of the individual. Enabling farmers to manage their business in a smart way by optimizing time management and eliminating human errors.
Are you interested in efficient and accurate asset tracking to always know where your cattle or agricultural machines are located? Request your demo here.
ILVO, the Flemish Research Institute for Agriculture and Fishing, conducts multidisciplinary and independent research focused on sustainable agriculture and fishing on an economical, ecological and social level. Based on this research, ILVO collects in-depth knowledge about the improvement of both product and production methods. In this way, they guard the safety and quality of finished products and push for policy improvements.
Innovation, diversification and sustainability are the main objectives of Inagro’s applied research tailored to the farmer and horticulturist. With advice and personal support, Inagro helps farmers with developing their business. By researching new crops and new techniques Inagro is an innovative force in the industry.