Charles Sturt University (CSU) academics are part of a research team exploring how remote monitoring technology can be put to use in the beef industry.
The researchers are currently developing a tool that will send out an alert when a calf is born and provide details of its location.
Associate Professor Scott Norman from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, says this tool will be used in ongoing research to understand more about calf losses in the northern beef industry.
"Calf loss has been identified as a significant contributor to poor reproductive performance within the northern beef herd, affecting productivity and profitability," Professor Norman said.
"But the large scale and remote nature of the industry in northern Australian means there's little information about when and why these losses are occurring.
"We hope this tool will help researchers fill in some of those gaps. If we can identify where the losses are occurring and the reasons for these losses, and implement management strategies to address those problems, it will be a significant benefit to the industry."
The tool has been developed as part of a project funded by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) involving CSU, the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and Central Queensland University.
Professor Normansays this could be the tip of the innovation iceberg.
"The telemetric technology used in this device has the potential to provide researchers and producers with valuable information about cattle behaviour, said Professor Norman.
"We're now investigating other ways we can use the telemetric technology, for example an ear tag that could help producers identify when a cow is oestrus and to which bull she is bred.
"We may also be able to monitor behaviour patterns to get an understanding of mothering behaviour, all from a remote location."
The Remote Calving Alert for Beef Cattle project involved Professor Norman, Dr Cyril Stephen, Ms Tonya Collop, Ms Jaymie Loy, Ms Katie Asplin – all from CSU and Professor David Swain, Dr Kym Patison and Mr Don Menzies from Central Queensland University.
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