Feed Lot

DEC 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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What if you could know when each of your cattle took a drink of water, ate from the feed bunk or might be showing early signs of ill- ness? The technology is here, ac- cording to Stephen L. Webb, Ph.D., landscape ecologist in the Center for Land Stewardship at the Noble Research Institute. He presented an update on available tracking de- vices and encouraged producers to let the foundation know how they could best test and further re- search the applications at the Tex- oma Cattlemen's Conference in Wi- chita Falls, Texas. GPS collars Webb said while most cattlemen are familiar with GPS collars, today's versions include communications technology not available in previ- ous models. Perhaps the most useful fea- ture? Webb said the user can now retrieve their data remotely from the collars. "So, we have our typical satellite system that will allow you to take a GPS point, and then you have a separate set of satellites where you upload your GPS locations to that go then to a central processing cen- ter, and then eventually down to the user. But that's not all. The user can also talk backward and change some of the settings on the collar, or they can change notifications, how often the GPS locations are collected, and a number of other features," he said. Camera collars Early on, the Noble Research In- stitute built their own camera col- lars using GoPro units. Today, there are companies offering collars with cameras already built in to their GPS units. These models give the user both video and spatial location. Webb showed footage of a cow equipped with two of these cam- eras, each offering its own unique view. One perspective was the cow grazing from above, while the other showed a close-up view of the grass. "There's some interesting behav- ioral information we can get out of this, too," Webb says. "Here, we have a line of cattle waiting for wa- ter but here comes this freak with this camera and all this technology hanging off his neck. He gets to 6 FEED•LOT  December 2017 INDUSTRY & INNOVATION ISSUE By KATRINA HUFFSTUTLER Animal Tracking Technology: To Infinity and Beyond Noble Foundation Researcher Discusses Today's Options. Could One Help You?

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