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A smarter way of farming and monitoring the livestock

A smarter way of farming and monitoring the livestock
Livestock farming is a major piece of the global agriculture market. Livestock and poultry account for over 50 percent of agricultural cash receipts in the United States, which often exceed US$100 billion a year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). To help ensure the safety and health of animals, famers around the world are starting to deploy video surveillance systems as an extra set of never-tiring eyes.

Farms getting smarter, more connected

The rising need to monitor the performance and health of livestock was named as a key factor leading the growth of the smart agriculture market, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets. The research firm expects the smart agriculture market to reach US$11.2 billion by 2022, up from $5.2 billion in 2017. 

Johan Didron, Marketing Manager at Luda.Farm, explained that for farmers to reach their goals of saving time and money, and increase control and safety they must work smart. “Smart cameras connected to smartphones and TVs are important, but now we also see an increased demands of different kind of sensors,” he said. 

This includes electric fence monitors that send out immediate alerts when the fence breaks, allowing farmers to act quickly and avoid having animals escape; diesel sensors that send alarms when the tank is getting empty; and smart plugs that alarm farmers when the temperature is falling too fast. These types of sensors, according to Didron, are out on the market but more will certainly come in the future.

Daxton Valyear, Owner of Electroguy, added that smoke detectors, temperature sensors, water sensors and feed sensors can also be controlled and monitored, once a system is connected to the internet. “For instance in the winter time you could have an outdoor water trough monitored with a temperature sensor. If the water gets to or around 0 degrees Celsius, you could turn on heat so that it doesn't freeze.”

Didron also noted that it is important that cameras are now equipped with smart functionality. This is made possible with growing connectivity on farms. “If something happens, for example a theft, it’s important that the farmer is alerted immediately,” he said. To meet this challenge, Luda.Farm has equipped its cameras with motion detectors that alert the farmer through push notifications as soon as unexpected movements occur.

Push notifications to smart devices are also helping to reduce the amount of manual checks required — alerts can be sent straight to a smartphone or tablet. This allows famers and workers to do quick checks at any time to make sure everything is fine with the animals.

Smart farming the future?

While using video surveillance cameras is only one way for farmers to monitor their livestock, many companies are now taking the “smart” concept and applying them to farming. For livestock, this means connecting and integrating these cameras into smarter, bigger systems with more sensors. These systems will be able to yield more data to provide farmers with in-depth information on their livestock, and allow them monitor their animals from afar. Security companies such as Nedap have already developed livestock management solutions to assist in smart dairy farming and pig farming. As farms become increasingly connected and technology for farmers continue to develop, we are sure to see more smart farms in the near future.

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