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A CQ University Rockhampton - basedresearcher will assess the ability of smart ear tags, developed by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), to enable farmers to help sheep farmers detect disease earlier.
Dr Jaime Manning will work with AWI, the Central Queensland Livestock Centre of Excellence and the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC), to test and evaluate the AWI sheep sensor system.
Dr Jaime Manning is one of 30 researchers being supported by the Queensland Government through the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship program.
“Queensland sheep producers are in need of new technologies, such as the AWI smart sensor ear tag, to automatically detect issues affecting their animals,” Dr Manning said.
“Our research will evaluate whether the smart tags are rugged enough for Queensland’s environmental conditions and develop animal behaviour algorithms so farmers can be automatically alerted of any arising health issues and undertake immediate intervention.
“The applications we are focusing on are the detection of predator attacks, as well as more subtle behaviour changes associated with disease development in sheep.”
Dr Manning said by the conclusion of the project, she hopes sheep graziers across Queensland will have access to a smart ear tag sensor system that provides data on key animal behaviours and remote alerts for predation and key disease issues.
“This research has enormous production, economic, welfare and social benefits for sheep producers, especially in Queensland.”
Ms Carolina Diaz, Program Manager, Farm Automation and Reproduction at AWI said the trial would lay the groundwork for the new smart tag technology to accurately detect welfare issues occurring in real time, and even predict issues about to occur.
“The trialling and evaluation of this technology will allow woolgrowers to make better informed management decisions earlier than ever before,” Ms Diaz said.
“On-animal sensors give woolgrowers the opportunity to monitor their livestock just as if they were shepherds in the paddock. The key benefit of the sensors is the ability to monitor sheep activity, behaviour and health 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Reacting to a predation event while it is occurring means a woolgrower would have the ability to save sheep from a pig or wild dog attack while it is occuring and before it escalates further resulting in better outcomes for sheep and woolgrowers.”
Dr Manning’s research project will commence in early 2019 and will run for three years. For more information head to wool.com/smarttags
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