Teching up cows
Studies aiming to improve the productivity of Northern Territory (NT) beef production systems by using remote technology systems, is being led by the Agriculture Division’s Livestock Industries Branch, senior research team Dionne Walsh, Tim Schatz and Kieren McCosker.
With $1.7M funding support from Meat and Livestock Australia, the Paddock Power, Calf Watch, and Reducing calf mortality from exposure projects have been identified as key foundation projects to the Northern Beef Business research initiative.
Using remote technology systems, the research will investigate many aspects of beef production with a focus on the causes of calf mortality - a significant and important issue for many NT beef producers. Identifying causes and developing cost-effective systems to mitigate their impact will substantially improve productivity.
The projects will track the movement of over 1,000 cattle at any one time - one of the largest undertakings in Australia. Satellite based GPS livestock tracking has taken place since the late 1980’s, however until recently, the cost of this technology has been largely unaffordable, limiting the number of devices that could be deployed. Power consumption and the time of device deployment were additional constraints. Without substantial investments in this technology and upskilling of staff in the deployment, data management and analysis, this project would not be possible.