Low energy electronics produces solution for cattle tag

A joint project between industry, government, universities, and CSIRO has led to the creation of a new digital ear tag for cattle.

Participants involved in the project include the Queensland state government, James Cook University, CSIRO and agricultural technology company Ceres Tag.

The tag, supported by $1.5 million funding from the Advance Queensland Innovation Partnerships program, is ultra-low power, meaning it can last on a single battery charge for years, while transmitting over a distance above 10kms.

“Our aim is to develop a smart tag solution that would potentially last the lifetime of the animal, require less battery life – and in turn reduce cost to the end-users,” said James Cook University professor, Ian Atkinson.

During the development of the project, trials have been held in Townsville and Fletcherview to ensure that the tags were able to continue letting graziers known the health of the cattle, their location and the condition of the paddocks in harsh environments.

The next step for the project is to refine the product and develop it for commercialisation.

“Our focus for the next smart tag iteration will be to create a smaller and lighter tag, as well as added functionality such as a temperature sensor, which could alert farmers to illnesses at an earlier stage,” said CSIRO group leader, Dr Ed Charmley.

With one of the potential areas for mass adoption of IoT technologies being the agricultural sector in Australia, this project is an example of how these technologies can be incorporated alongside low energy devices.

“The tag is GPS-enabled, allowing farmers to track the location of individual animals remotely, via Internet of Things (IoT) capability,” said Ceres Tag CEO, David Smith.

With an eye to how the technology could promote commercial returns, Queensland Innovation Minister, Kate Jones, highlighted the role that the tag could play in the wider economy.

“This technology could have a huge impact on our Queensland graziers and further grow the premium status of Australian livestock products – a vital component of the Australian economy.”