On The Land

20 June, 2024

Cattle monitoring goes to a new level with AI

ARTIFICIAL intelligence is being trained to monitor cattle, with the system set to be able to alert a producer when there are issues like animal injuries and lameness, or emergency animal disease symptoms.

Cattle monitoring goes to a new level with AI - feature photo

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Goondiwindi-based company Infarm have collaborated to create a prototype automated camera system to detect cattle and monitor their condition using advances in machine vision and AI.

The system’s first job is to identify cows and calves, providing information to help producers combat low fertility rates in extensive beef herds.

The technology will be developed into remote surveillance nodes that can look for things like animal injuries and disease symptoms and other production issues such as bottle teat and buffalo fly.

The system is being utilised at DAF’s Brian Pastures Research Facility (near Gayndah), where more than 750,000 images and 86,000 videos have been recorded and sent to the cloud using a new high-speed satellite connection.

Researchers are labelling the cattle in the videos and photos to train the AI algorithm.  

Once this training is complete, the system will be able to do everything remotely and will only send alerts when it identifies an issue a producer needs to address.

This will greatly reduce the level of connectivity required. 

The cameras have also spotted other animals like feral pigs, cats, birds, kangaroos, wallabies and elusive bettongs, indicating they could be used to monitor feral and native animal numbers.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said the technology was exciting for producers.

“The ramifications of technology like this are extremely exciting, not to mention far reaching,” he said.

“Cattle monitoring using artificial intelligence is something we could only have dreamed of up until recently. Now it’s a whisker away from becoming a reality.

“Projects like this also enable our AgTech Roadmap’s vision of Adopt, Adapt and Advance.

“We’re increasing agribusinesses’ capability and adoption of AgTech, increasing commercial-ready technology that addresses key agribusiness challenges, and enabling technology transformation that benefits Queensland’s economic, social and environmental future."

InFarm managing director and co-founder Jerome Lay said the technology would improve productivity and boost biosecurity.

“At InFarm we use cutting-edge technology to solve problems, but what we love most is developing systems that work for Australian producers” he said.

“Our innovative use of AI and big data, even in areas with limited connectivity, directly contributes to making farms more efficient and profitable. 

“Working with DAF has allowed us to combine our joint expertise to kickstart the project.

“The goal of this technology is to have digital eyes on your animals at all time, helping to improve productivity while maintaining Australia's biosecurity.”


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