GPS Used to Locate Grazing Cattle
Tokachi Agricultural Cooperative (Obihiro) revealed an operational experiment on October 6, in which grazing cattle are fitted with collars containing a Global Position System (GPS) that utilizes satellites, to determine their location. The devices were fitted to some cattle at a ranch in the town of Taiki in Eastern Hokkaido from early September, and were found to be effective in helping to discover injured cows quickly.
The ranch covers an area of 422 hectares and, of the 2,000 calves taken in from other farms in Hokkaido and beyond, approximately 1,600 of them are released to graze between May and late October. Daily patrols are carried out by 10 ranch staff members on bikes or on foot. However, as the grazing land is hilly and located near the sea, foggy conditions in bad weather often make it difficult to see far.
In collaboration with NTT docomo Hokkaido Branch (Sapporo) and construction consultant Koken Engineering Co., Ltd. (Sapporo), the Agricultural Cooperative developed a collar fitted with a communications network and GPS receiver, enabling the cattle’s location data to be confirmed via a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
As part of the experiment, the collars were fitted to 50 head of grazing cattle. In mid-September, when one cow that was not moving much was investigated, it was found to have an injured leg, making early treatment possible. A spokesperson at the ranch said “We hope to utilize the system as a method of supporting human eyesight, to solve labor-shortage problems and help improve work efficiency.”
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