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Australian farmers embracing geospatial tech

Australia: With increasing demand from consumers to know where their food comes from and how it has been raised, Australian farmers are turning to satellite technology to track livestock and improve pasture production. Wool producers are putting GPS collars on their sheep as part of a government trial to monitor their flock’s foraging behaviour, while a chicken farmer has installed a webcam to show consumers that his eggs come from free range chickens.

NSW Department of Primary Industries research agronomist Warwick Badgery explained that the EverGraze project was using the data from the GPS collars to help farmers work out the choices sheep make when eating impact on pastures. The GPS data is matched against their diet selection and faecal samples are collected across the paddocks to be analysed to measure feed quality and give farmers objective information to optimise their grazing management.

“It’s all about balance and giving farmers solid information about the interactions and trade-offs different systems offer,” Badgery said.

At Newcastle, Australian-owned company Ecoeggs installed Chook- cam, a live stream from the farm via a user-controllable camera so consumers can see the production of the free- range eggs that they buy at the supermarket. Ecoeggs owner Ray Leach explained that it was an education tool due to the increasing demand from consumers who wanted to know how their food was produced, where it was produced and that it was ethically produced.

“We have responded with the introduction of the ChookCam, which has provided total transparency to consumers by showcasing what happens each day in the life of our hens,” Leach said.

Source: The Daily Telegraph