A leading American scientist is joining forces with Central Queensland University to tackle animal welfare challenges in extensive production systems through the use of digital technologies which can identify sick animals before the farmer even leaves the house.
Visiting Fulbright scholar Derek Bailey, of New Mexico State University, will be based in Rockhampton for four months while he works with CQU’s precision livestock management team to monitor animal welfare through the use of GPS technologies.
Among the research activities Professor Bailey will undertake is a collaboration with CQU Associate Professor Mark Trotter to monitor livestock carrying ticks at AgForces Belmont Research Station, to identify if behavioural patterns are different in treated animals.
‘‘One of the cool things about coming to CQU is that the team here is very close to having real-time or near real-time tracking of livestock,’’ Prof Bailey said.
‘‘We’re trying to use technology such as GPS sensors and accelerometers to identify behaviours that are indicative of welfare issues, such as an early warning of tick infestation.’’
GPS devices are affixed to a collar which sends signals to transmission towers, with the data displayed back at the house on a web-based app or in the field via a smartphone.
‘‘We expect that this sort of technology will become commonplace on farms in years to come,’’ Prof Bailey said.