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.

Currently in development, 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 additional financing opportunities through better management of livestock through data.

Ceres Tag is being developed as an NLIS (National Livestock Identification System) compliant smart ear tag targeted to last the life of the animal. This work is part of a research and development project co-funded by the MLA Donor Company.

Other work we have done in sensing and monitoring include:

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