Opportunities and challenges for real-time management (RTM) in extensive livestock systems

A Waterhouse*, JP Holland, A McLaren, R Arthur, C-A Duthie, S Kodam, HM Wishart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


Extensive livestock systems face many challenges associated with their environment. They are often associated with poor quality grazing, harsh weather conditions, few or no fences and do not allow for frequent inspections of animals. In addition, the availability of appropriately skilled labour is becoming short in supply. PLF technology promises the capability to transform these systems. Four technologies are evaluated through case studies related to practical deployment and some research results. (1) LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) often referred to as LoRa, which is an enabling, IoT, technology communicating, in this case, from animal-wearable sensors, via cloud-based computing to end-users. A network involving two LoRa gateways was established linking on-animal sensors to the ‘cloud’ and thence to management information. (2) GNSS - location data were collected from collars and communicated, via LoRa, to determine data transfer efficiency and location accuracy. (3) Proximity sensors - small proximity beacons on lambs and receivers with LoRA transmitters on their collared dams to assess lamb-dam pedigree information. (4) Tri-axial inertia movement units (IMU) - IMU data was communicated in real-time via LoRa enabled transmitting neck collars. The range of wearable technology provided reliable and potentially useful management information. Combined technologies provide the best technical promise but all four technologies have particular challenges in terms of costs and benefits in these extensive systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrecision Livestock Farming '19. Proceedings of the European Conference in Precision Livestock Farming.
EditorsBernadette O'Brien, Deirdre Hennessy, Laurence Shalloo
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781841706542
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 2019
EventThe European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming - Cork, Ireland
Duration: 26 Aug 201929 Aug 2019


ConferenceThe European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming


  • Extensive
  • GNSS
  • IMU
  • LoRA
  • Proximity
  • Real-time monitoring


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