World first auto cattle muster

Dec 20, 2012

An Australian technology company is close to commercialising the world's first fully automated system for mustering and managing cattle in the rangelands.

Alice Springs-based Precision Pastoral Pty Ltd has developed the Remote Livestock Management System (RLMS), which can save around $68 a head in annual cattle operational costs and help them ensure their businesses have a strong economic future

The has announced it will provide a $350,000 grant to help Precision Pastoral to develop, demonstrate and take its automated management system to the Australian and world markets.

"We're talking about a technology with potential to revolutionise the way livestock are managed across the world's arid and semi-arid ," says Mark Ashley, acting managing director of Ninti One Pty Ltd.

"It introduces to graziers and pastoralists the same sort of precision available to dairy and beef farmers on much smaller properties – enabling them to muster, weigh, monitor, draft and hold pastoral cattle for market over large distances," he adds.

"It saves time, money, labour and capital by using smart remote technology. It can potentially transform the economics and sustainability of extensive grazing in the Australian rangelands – but also in places like the of Asia, the Americas and Africa.

The RLMS is a sophisticated combination of hardware and software that uses telemetry to identify weigh and draft individual animals when they come in for a drink of water, explains Tim Driver, the CEO of Precision Pastoral Pty Ltd who are manufacturing the Remote Livestock Management System.

"Cattle are trained to present themselves to the RLMS for recording, then return themselves to the paddock – unless they are ready for market, in which case a drafting gate sends them to a holding paddock to await collection by the stock transporter," Tim says.

"It uses a to run radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers, which recognise the unique electronic tag in each animal's ear when it passes a gate. The animal is then automatically weighed and drafted. The whole process is overseen by sophisticated software that has been trialled in real-life conditions on Australian cattle stations over the past three years.

"This enables producers to monitor individual cattle whenever they drink and carry out a range of management actions such as mustering, drafting, monitoring calving rates and fertility, controlling access to feed supplements, and tracking animal growth rates to determine optimum sale times."

The current prototype RLMS is undergoing field trials and research projects with producers throughout remote Australia. Even in the harsh conditions, the system has achieved a 92% up-time and a 99% drafting accuracy. In weight tracking tests, it recorded cattle weights with 97% accuracy - arguably better humans can achieve.

"No other product on the market comes close to providing this level of integration and data analysis," Mr Driver says.

Mr Ashley says that the RLMS does more than help graziers to monitor and muster 'hands-off' and save money: "Potentially it is part of an even more sophisticated system that helps graziers precisely match grazing pressure to the available pasture, as reported by satellites from space.

"This can help reduce the massive worldwide problem of rangeland degradation by making grazing systems much more sustainable, retaining good cover of native grasses and vegetation – and also locking more carbon.

"The rangelands occupy 40 per cent of the Earth's land surface. They are the largest area of managed land on the planet, but so far humanity has not managed them that well.

"Precision pastoralism will improve the management of both the rangelands and their animals – as well as preserving the pastoral livelihoods of millions of people. This represents a profound contribution by Australian science and technology to a more sustainable world."

Explore further: Noted researchers warn that biomedical research system in US is unsustainable

Provided by CRC for Remote Economic Participation

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Finding new forages for rangeland cattle

Jan 25, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cattle that graze on rangelands in the western United States may soon have a new forage option, thanks to work by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist.

Grazing management effects on stream pollutants

Jul 21, 2011

Surface water quality is important for the proper function of aquatic ecosystems, as well as human needs and recreation. Pasturelands have been found to be major sources of sediment, phosphorus and pathogens in Midwest surface ...

ARS scientists study effects of grazing on grouse habitat

Apr 30, 2010

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, Ore., are taking a careful look at how grazing cattle affect sage-grouse habitat on high desert rangelands.

Lazing in the shade grows steaks

Mar 29, 2012

New research confirms that cattle lying under trees and chewing cud aren’t bludging - they’re putting on condition by letting their digestive system do the work. 

Zebras versus cattle: Not so black and white

Sep 22, 2011

African ranchers often prefer to keep wild grazers like zebra off the grass that fattens their cattle. But a new study by UC Davis and Kenyan researchers shows that grazing by wild animals doesn't always harm ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...