Rural Weekly: Tag and track ‘mOOvement’

The story first appeared on Rural Weekly

MONITORING grazing patterns, sending alerts of stock thefts, and advising whether your best bull is interacting with cows or laying down in the shade under a tree.

That’s just some of the information Moovement’s GPS ear tags can relay to farmers.

The ag-tech business, which was launched in May 2017, will present some of its real-time results at this year’s Agvention, which is being held at the Kandanga Farm Store in the Mary Valley next week.

Moovement sales director Daniel Rieder said they were the only business providing GPS tracking technology in an ear tag, rather than a full collar.

The latest device is light and uses a single prong.

Mr Rieder has been with the company for about six months. He previously worked for UQ, developing drones for the ag sector.

His background in the beef industry crosses borders, as he was originally a cattle producer in Paraguay in South America.

“I would say the farming where I am from is similar to the conditions in Emerald and Clermont in Central Queensland,” he said.

“It just has a bit more reliable rainfall. We run the same breeds, so Brahmans and a few Brafords and Herefords.”

Coming on board with Moovement, Mr Rieder was surprised to hear from customers that stock theft was one of the concerns that motivated them to invest in GPS technology.

“I never thought there would be theft issues in Australia,” he said. “But theft is an important factor for graziers.”

He said there were other producers who simply wanted to track their cattle at all times.

“With our tags you can see the individual movement patterns of cattle, but also the movements of the whole mob,” he said.

“Basically you will be able to see the grazing patterns.

“This helps the graziers look at the size of their paddocks or to help them make decisions on when to rotate their cattle.”

The tags had also proved vital to producers with a keen focus on their herd’s genetics.

“There are producers who have expensive bulls on their farms,” he said.

“So being able to know where they are, and if they are okay is important to them.

“If a tag doesn’t move for a certain amount of time they get an alert on their phone, so they can go out and check what’s happening.”

The technology also means producers can learn whether or not their bulls are interacting with their cows.

“We know there are some breeds of bulls that stop working at certain temperatures.

“This allows producers to notice the temperature their bulls stop interacting with the cows and start lying down under a tree.”

At the moment, the tags report back data once an hour.

“We also have a mustering mode, so if a producer is shifting their cattle and needs more up-to-date information they can let us know.

“From our office we can update the tags so they send a location every 15 minutes.”

The nifty device is powered by a small solar panel.

“The most difficult thing to achieve when making an ear tag like this is to make it small and light enough so it can be on the ear of an animal,” he said.

“So you need a very small battery.

“You also need a way to keep powering that battery.

“That’s why our tags have integrated solar panels to keep charging them.”

The tags get GPS locations from satellites, and send the locations through radio frequency to an antenna in the paddock.

“We can have a radius of around 10km from an antenna, depending on forestry and how hilly the country is,” Mr Rieder said.

“The antennas need WIFI, or 3G, 4G.

“But we also have a special Hiber antenna that connects directly to satellites for really remote areas.”