It may sound udderly ridiculous, but far from it. There’s already a sensor that dairy farmers can put in their cows’ bellies. It monitors acidity levels among other factors and can notify a farmer if there are potential issues such as infection. Then there’s the SmartBell for cows, it tracks movement in the fields to assist with yield management.
The Connected Farm
Farmers already use drones, GPS data and other tools to monitor crops and conditions. Then there are all the software companies dashing about to make farm management software tools that bring all this together. Farms will be moving much of their data to the cloud. This will mean Big Data for agriculture and it’s already underway. One cool technology is Planet Labs which makes tiny satellite cubes just a few centimetres across with powerful cameras to monitor agricultural areas.
The Sensorfication of Farm Animals
It’s not just cows. This type of sensor implanted into farm animals can be pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, you name it. Sensors are becoming cheaper than ever and communications tools such as RFID make reading the signals much easier. Expect to see more innovations in this area.
Big Farms, Big Data, Big Money
We may well benefit in a number of ways from the Internet of Animals. Understanding breeding habits, water and feed consumption we can reduce waste and improve diets. Water stress is a growing issue, we need ways to better manage water resources.
While all this may not make for cute farm animal videos on YouTube and Facebook, it’s a quickly growing sector of the agricultural industry. It’s also an example of an old sector seeing new forms of job creation bringing added economic value to the agricultural sector.
Just don’t freak when you fund a sensor embedded in that BBQ steak this summer.
What do you think?