Australia's $17 billion livestock industry plays a vital role in the national economy, fuelled by the rapid growth of Asia and increasing demand for high quality Australian exports from countries such as China.

For many livestock producers, locating and monitoring the activity of their livestock has been a time-consuming and often costly challenge. The CSIRO's Data61, through its Distributed Sensing Systems Group, and its Agriculture and Food business units have teamed up with a commercial partner, Ceres Tag , to tackle this problem with a smart ear tag — bringing together deep technology expertise and animal science know-how.

The solution is the result of combining deep technology expertise and general agricultural know-how to develop a livestock information platform embodied in a proprietary smart ear tag design. The platform provides animal location and activity, but ultimately allows developers across the livestock supply chain network to provide additional value with welfare, health and performance metrics of their livestock.

The smart ear tag builds on several years of research in livestock production and long-term sensing and tracking. It features geo-location for greater traceability and provenance of livestock and will provide a platform for other possible applications in the future.

Cattle on a farm

The data collected from the tags can be translated into knowledge to improve management of both livestock and the paddock.

The ear tags will also give producers greater control over grazing management, allow them to locate livestock remotely and alert them to stock theft. The aim is to reduce operating costs, increase operational efficiency and create additional financing opportunities through better management of livestock.

In 2019, Ceres Tag established a partnership with Globalstar, allowing CSIRO to utilise their proprietary satellite communications chipset to provide global connectivity enabled by Globalstar's second-generation Low Earth Orbit (1400km) satellite constellation, providing a new paradigm in risk reduction and transparency for the livestock industry.

CSIRO's Data61 believes that this is a world-first, being the first commercial application that allows direct exchange of data from animal to satellite, creating a livestock information platform for the supply chain, from paddock to processor, without requiring additional infrastructure. This allows greater traceability provenance, animal welfare and stock theft reduction. This unique solution is scalable anywhere, anytime with instant results available to assist decision making.

Because of its flexibility, this ear tag platform can benefit not only the global agricultural industry, but also Governments seeking to improve their provenance and bio-security systems, finance and insurance institutions seeking to reduce risk, trading platforms seeking transparency, animal health companies using diagnostics for improved data-driven decisions, retailers for food safety and security of final consumer products and many more along the supply chain network.

The ear tags have been continually refined to cerate a tag that is small, lightweight and applicable to a variety of livestock. In addition, Data61 is well positioned to apply this technology to other wildlife.

In 2020, Ceres Tag in collaboration with CSIRO, Meat & Livestock Australia, Queensland Government. James Cook University and the Clandestine Design Group is undertaking large scale trials throughout Australia and internationally. The trials will be conducted across multiple environmental and climatic conditions, to test and validate the operational proficiency of its complete livestock information platforms. Trials have been undertaken which demostrate the latest design and technology for long-term retention and direct satellite communications, pushing data from 50 animals into Senaps.

Ceres Tag is expecting to enter the market in the second half of 2020.

Contact Data61

How can we help you create your data-driven future? Use the form below to send us a message.
Your contact details
0 / 100
0 / 1900
You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.

For security reasons attachments are not accepted.