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Fitbit For Cows

Weather, climate, and environment play a huge role in the health of cattle but unless you’re out there with them all the time, it can be tricky to monitor each individual cow’s health and activity. A  company called Herddog has developed a “smart ear tag” with a microprocessor that transmits all kinds of information about the animal. It’s like a “fitbit for cows,” or more importantly, precision agriculture for livestock.

Melissa Brandao is the CEO and founder of Herddogg. She says producers can get a lot of data without requiring a human to be involved in the process.

"We’re reading activity levels, so like a Fitbit activity level for the animal. But we’re also looking at ear temperature, and then we do microclimate. We measure the environment around the animal," she says. "So, from that ear tag we’re looking at generally biometric data and microclimate data from the animal."

The animal’s information is sent to a Bluetooth reader device called a dogbone, which then deploys it to the Cloud.  Brandao says it picks up information from the ear tag when the animal is within about 30-feet of it.

"The readers are completely deployed, they’re not connected to a barn or base station. You can put the reader at a watering trough or the barn door, on feeders and trees," she says. "They just are where the animals are so you don’t have to require the animal to go to the reader, the reader comes to the animal."

Brandao says the smart ear tags work on cattle, sheep, goats, and elk. They’re currently testing a system that could be used on chickens.

Learn more about herddogg and smart ear tags