Dairy farmers are some of the most hardworking people. They are the backbone of the nutrition provider for the entire world. Milk and dairy products supply about 70% of the calcium needs of the U.S. population.
But lately, the dairy farmers are having a hard time managing their cattle and keeping their farms a profitable venture. So, we are here talking about the ways to leverage smart dairy farming using IoT. Let’s explore how livestock management becomes easier and more profitable with IoT technologies.
For the people who run such farms, their livelihood is more than just a business venture. 97% of U.S. dairy farms are family-owned farm businesses. That means it’s a massive majority of family businesses passed on from generation to generation working together.
This business approach is good to keep the profits in the family, but what if the farms are incurring losses? We don’t mean to say that you sell your farm to big corporations, not at all. Instead, we suggest systematically finding and solving the challenges your dairy farm and livestock are enduring.
Common Problems That Dairy Farmers Are Facing
The average dairy farm in the U.S. has 187 cows. Of course, this number could be a lot large or small for your particular cattle farm. But the problems that all the livestock farmers face are mostly similar. The most common problems are livestock management, low milk yield, quick disease infestation, and spreading among the livestock.
Let’s talk about these challenges in more detail.
The biggest issue that dairy farmers face is subpar livestock management. For instance, as the number of cattle grows, the time to inspect them for heat, milking, and diseases increases. Hiring more workforce to tackle this issue will only eat into your revenue.
We can resolve all these issues if there is a way to continuously monitor the livestock and keep records of the data. Enter, “IoT-based Smart Collar and RFID tags for livestock monitoring.” With these hi-tech products, IoT cattle tracking, monitoring, and studying your herd becomes extremely easy.
We’ll talk more about these smart products ahead.
How Can IoT Help Dairy Farmers?
So, how do these IoT smart livestock monitoring products help dairy farmers? These smart livestock management products have various sensors that record and transmit various vitals of the cattle to a livestock management software.
The two most promising remote livestock management system that exists at present are:
I. GPS & RFID Tags
II. Smart Collars For Livestock
I. GPS & RFID Tags
The GPS and RFID tags are a step forward from the usual visual tags that you put on the livestock’s ear. The old tags would usually have just a number or name to recognize the cattle and the farm it belongs to. However, with GPS and RFID tags, we have come a lot further.
These tags have a small sensor and transmitter that sends out the live location of the livestock to the nearby hubs receiving the signal. There are small but powerful batteries that power the GPS tag to send out the location. On the other hand, the RFID livestock management works based on a radio frequency, so it would get activated when in near field contact with a frequency emitter.
The one drawback that these tags have is that they can only transmit the location of the cattle, nothing more. The next product in the line solves and trumps this issue on a large scale.
SEE ALSO: RFID Tags for Smart Inventory Management
II. Smart Collars For Livestock
The smart collar is a next-level product in the IoT technology for livestock network. There are some amazing features in this product that will completely change how dairy farmers manage and monitor their livestock.
It’s a tiny box with numerous sensors, all dedicated to studying a different factor about the livestock and help in improving the health, milk yield, and daily management of the livestock. From here on, we’ll be focusing on the livestock smart collar IoT product in this article.
How Does The Smart Collar Work?
The smart collar is a complete IoT livestock management system with a physical product and a digital dashboard. Here is how this cattle management software solution works.
Install The Router
The routers or hubs will be the gateway that receives the signal and data from the collar and sends it to the software system. The routers to be installed can work on battery (for indoors) or solar-powered (for outdoors).
The router has a range of working, usually about 2 miles, so all the smart livestock collars within the 2-mile range of the router will be connected to it. All the data received by the router hub is passed on to the servers, where the system makes sense of the data using machine learning.
Strap The Collars On The Livestock
The smart collar will be tied to a harness that goes around the neck of the livestock (cow, sheep, goat, pig, etc.) The small box-like device will stay in contact with the neck and collect various vitals and signals through a range of different sensors.
The sensors generate and transmit data to the nearest router hub, as explained previously. The design of the smart collar for livestock is comfortable for the cattle to wear, rugged for long-term use, and safe for the workers as well as cattle.
Monitor your Livestock
The small box filled with sensors will measure temperature, activity, and livestock behavior at all times while it’s eating, sleeping, grazing, milking, or mating. The smart collar is the perfect multi-task, single device to monitor the cattle, prevent diseases, detect heat cycles, and increase milk yield.
As soon as the collar is installed, it will start transmitting live data to your interactive livestock management software dashboard. All the data concerning your livestock will be shown in the dashboard, and you can also get charts and graphs based on days, weeks, months, or even years of collected and stored data.
Get Alerts & Actionable Recommendations
The remote livestock management system stores and showcases data and studies it through complex, machine learning-based algorithms. The existing science behind livestock biology and bodily functions helps in bridging the gap and providing actionable recommendations.
These actionable recommendations help you in bringing positive changes to your operations. By understanding what your livestock is going through, you can resolve their individual problems quickly and early on.
The system will also alert you in case of an emergency, like cattle being stuck or fallen and even windows for estrus events. This way, you can keep your livestock safe and ever-growing with the help of IoT technology.
Benefits of Choosing the Smart Collar Livestock Product
Now that you know how the smart collar livestock monitoring sensors work, it’s time to learn how beneficial it is for your dairy farm.
Maintain High Reproduction Rates
A cattle needs to birth one calf per year to stay lactating and provide milk. This means you need to keep checking them for heat, which may need to be done every 15-30 minutes. Can you do it manually for all the cattle on your farm? It’s possible but very tiring and time-consuming.
However, the sensor will continuously monitor and alert you when the livestock enters the heat period with the smart collar. So even if your cattle come into heat at 3 AM, the livestock monitoring system will alert you instantly.
Managing a dairy farm is not at all an easy job. There are tons of tasks to be performed daily, all with great precision & dedication. And the biggest issue, even if you find dedicated workers to monitor and manage your livestock, labor doesn’t come cheap.
But technology does come at a significantly lower cost than manual labor. And you can rely more on IoT’s consistency and accuracy than manual labor. This doesn’t mean that machines will run your farm entirely; you need people for manual work like leading the cattle to pasture.
With the sensor box around the neck of the cattle, your workers can focus on more physical tasks than monitoring tasks.
Control Disease Outbreaks
What’s one annoying thing about working with cattle? They cannot speak. So whether they are healthy or suffering from some disease, the only way to find out is by inspecting yourself. Unfortunately, these inspections are prone to wrong diagnoses or simply ignoring the small signs.
The medical vitals sensors in the smart collar are placed to gather real-time accurate health vitals of the livestock. These vitals can help in the early diagnosing of livestock diseases.
Lameness, Post-calving, Mastitis are all diseases that affect the milk yield and lifespan of the livestock. You can avoid all these troubles and financial losses by choosing the smart collar for livestock monitoring using IoT. The system will also alert you if any of your livestock needs emergency assistance.
Managing Livestock Stress
Just like humans, your cattle also have emotions and can go through stress. They are, after all, living, compassionate mammals. It is amazing how smart bands and smartwatches can note if the wearer (human) is under stress or anxiety.
Rough handling, poor housing conditions, estrus, calving time, livestock transportation, and many other such factors could lead to stress in your livestock. This kind of stress will affect the milk yield as well as make the livestock prone to catching diseases.
With the smart collar, you can easily identify the cattle that need your attention based on their vitals. Then, you keep a check on their health, feed, and behavior to keep them stress-free and happy livestock.
Livestock Feed Optimization
According to several scientific studies, rumination is considered the true reflection of the feed intake of cattle. When you strap the smart collar to your livestock’s neck, the sensors in the device collect vital data used to compare the cattle’s performance with the feed intake being served to them.
Once the data is studied, you can optimize the livestock’s feed and balance their health, milk, and reproductive performance. In turn, boosting your business’ monetary gains across three factors.
Operational Benefits In Larger Herds
The smart collar IoT product is highly scalable, so it can work equally amazingly for a farm with 5-10 cattle as a farm with thousands of cattle. Each smart collar is like a personal caretaker of a cow; you could say that it’s like putting one worker to take care of one livestock full time. But the price of a collar is significantly lower in the long run when compared to workers’ salaries.
With the smart livestock collar, you do not need to hire more people to manage your livestock, and your farm grows bigger. Just get more smart collars for your additional cattle, and you will always get the complete data right on your online livestock management software dashboard.
Higher Visibility Into Daily Operations
The livestock management software connected to the IoT smart collar product will have an extensive array of features as per your needs. This IoT product becomes your on-ground labor and provides operational visibility via the software dashboard.
With the interactive online dashboard, you get to observe not just your livestock but your entire dairy business. With a livestock management app for tablets or smartphones, you can access the livestock management system from anywhere at any time. This livestock and dairy farm management system addresses your most pressing concerns and helps you grow your yield and farm exponentially.
Planning To Get Your Smart Collar Livestock Monitor?
Every farm has its individual needs, and every farmer calculates profits and operations on different factors. So the best option for you is to get a custom smart collar product with only the features you need. This way, you only pay for the features and services you need and get the simplest solution to manage and run your dairy farm digitally.
The cost of IoT software development services varies on a large scale depending on the amount of hardware, quality of sensors and batteries, need of software and firmware, features of the software, and many other factors.
Excellent Webworld has been a pioneer with our livestock management developers, and the reason is that we offer a custom solution to each of our clients according to their individual needs. You can talk to our business executives and IoT head to learn more about our smart collar solution and its application to your business.