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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Davis, J
item Darr, M
item Xin, H
item Harmon, J
item Brown Brandl, Tami

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2005
Publication Date: 5/15/2005
Citation: Davis, J.D., Darr, M.J., Xin, H., Harmon, J.D., Brown Brandl, T.M. 2005. Development of a low-cost GPS herd activity and welfare kit (HAWK) for livestock monitoring. Proceedings, Seventh International Livestock Environment Symposium. p. 607-612.

Interpretive Summary: The objective of this project was to develop a low-cost cattle activity monitor. The unit uses an inexpensive GPS receiver with 3 m accuracy. The information collection unit had multiple input channels for both digital and general purpose inputs. Data was stored on a device to be downloaded daily. Power was supplied with a 6 VDC battery. The system used a weatherproof enclosure and was mounted on the animal's shoulders. The location minimized contact with bunks and fences within the feedlot. The location also gave the best visibility to GPS satellites.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to develop a low-cost, automatic and continuous Herd Activity and Welfare Kit (HAWK). The operational goal for the GPS HAWK was to collect GPS positions and analog sensor data at a user-specified sampling frequency and store it in a secure format. The GPS HAWK uses a Garmin 12-channel, WAAS corrected, low-power GPS receiver with <3 m accuracy. The microcontroller-based system is equipped with six (0-5V single-ended, 10-bit resolution) analog to digital (A/D) conversion channels as well as 16 general purpose I/O pins that can be configured for digital operations or serial communication. Data is stored to an EEPROM device and offloaded daily to a 32MB Compact Flash memory card. Power is supplied using a 6VDC, 7.2 amp-hours sealed lead acid battery. The GPS HAWK was enclosed in a weatherproof enclosure and mounted above the shoulders to provide better satellite visibility to the receiver and to prevent contact with concrete feed bunks in confined animal feeding studies.

Last Modified: 08/15/2017
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