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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376914

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: A test of LoRa WAN real-time GPS tracking on beef cattle in desert pastures

item MCINTOSH, MATTHEW - New Mexico State University
item CIBILS, ANDRES - New Mexico State University
item NYAMURYEKUNG'E, SHEMELIA - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item COX, ANDREW - New Mexico State University
item DAWES, ADRIENNE - New Mexico State University
item WATERHOUSE, TONY - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College
item HOLLAND, JOHN - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2019
Publication Date: 2/17/2020
Citation: McIntosh, M., Cibils, A., Nyamuryekung'e, S., Estell, R.E., Cox, A., Dawes, A., Waterhouse, T., Holland, J. 2020. A test of LoRa WAN real-time GPS tracking on beef cattle in desert pastures [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting. February 17-20, 2020. Denver, Colorado. #3

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Monitoring livestock behavior in real time using GPS, movement sensors, and data-mining algorithms has potential to help improve animal wellbeing and livestock production on western ranches. We sought to evaluate GPS fix rate (10-min intervals; expecting 144 fixes*d-1) of LoRa WAN-enabled GPS devices housed in water-tight PelicanTM cases fixed to WeaverTM nylon cattle collars or fixed to the top of a nylon cattle halter. We tested two AbeewayTM industrial tracker devices for 13 d (Trial 1 [T1]: 4/18– 4/30, 2019) in a 2.4 ha planted triticale pasture at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) campus farm and for 13d and 15d, respectively (Trial 2 [T2]: 6/29 – 7/7, 2019; Trial 3 [T3] 8/27 – 9/10) at the NMSU Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center (largest pasture >1475 ha). We used a KerlinkTM LoRa antenna and gateway (with an expected 10 km reach) to receive and route GPS data from the trackers to the cloud. We were able to configure trackers, visualize GPS data on a map, and download GPS points using an online application developed by AbeewayTM and ActilityTM. In T1 (planted pasture), the industrial tracker devices recorded 93% ± 1% of the expected fixes whereas in T2 (rangeland pasture) trackers recorded 57% ± 4% of expected fixes. In T3 (rangeland pasture) trackers recorded 77% ± 5% of expected fixes and no GPS fix rate differences were found between the collar vs halter design (P > 0.40). Differences in GPS fix rates among trials are possibly related to GPS battery and antenna location which was approximately 100 m away from the farm pasture (T1) and up to 5 -7 km away from the farthest points in our rangeland pastures (T2, T3). Our preliminary results suggest that LoRa-enabled GPS tracking is a promising technology for development of precision grazing tools for western rangelands.