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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #392544

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

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Testing of a LoRa-WAN digital ranching system on desert rangelands: some practical experiences

item MCINTOSH, MATT - New Mexico State University
item CIBILS, ANDRES - New Mexico State University
item NYAMURYEKUNG'E, SHELEMIA - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item COX, ANDREW - New Mexico State University
item DUNI, D - New Mexico State University
item UTSUMI, S - New Mexico State University
item GONG, Q - New Mexico State University
item WATERHOUSE, A - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College
item HOLLAND, J - Sruc-Scotland'S Rural College
item CAO, H - New Mexico State University
item BOUCHERON, L - New Mexico State University
item CHEN, H - New Mexico State University
item Spiegal, Sheri

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2021
Publication Date: 12/14/2021
Citation: Mcintosh, M.M., Cibils, A.F., Nyamuryekung'E, S., Estell, R.E., Cox, A., Duni, D., Utsumi, S., Gong, Q., Waterhouse, A., Holland, J., Cao, H., Boucheron, L., Chen, H., Spiegal, S.A. 2021. Testing of a LoRa-WAN digital ranching system on desert rangelands: some practical experiences. Proceedings of New Mexico State University, Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Beef, Dairy and Livestock Update. pp. 51-54

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Precision livestock farming (PLF) is an emerging agricultural strategy that incorporates sensors and data analytics to inform management decisions. Though common in household and more intensive livestock and crop production systems, Internet of Things (IoT) tools are in earliest stages of development for extensive beef and sheep production systems on arid rangeland primarily due to limited infrastructure and lack of Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite network access. Yet Long Range Wide Area Networks (Lora-WAN) could offer a high efficiency and low-cost solution to this hindrance as they promise near-real time long-range coverage, a strong signal, long battery life, and customizable data collection units. This study aimed to test a PLF LoRaWAN-based monitoring system across four pastures (12,000 ac) of Chihuahuan Desert rangeland. We report the installation protocol, maintenance, and practical applications associated with the system. Industrial trackers equipped with global positioning system (GPS) were placed on custom collars on 43 rangeland beef cows and geo-positioning data was collected at 15-minute intervals for approximately 3 months from March 9 – June 9, 2020. The user dashboard was equipped for remote visualization of animal location, and offered several additional geo-positioning settings (e.g. time difference of arrival, Wi-Fi sniffing, and low power GPS) aimed at conserving battery life. In this case study, the rancher using the system quickly became accustomed to checking the online dashboard in the morning before heading out to visually inspect the animals. This resulted in less time invested in finding and tracking of animal locations and frequently grazed areas. The rancher also became acquainted with cattle watering-bouts by watching daily return intervals on the dashboard, which resulted in reliable predictions of times when animals would be in watering corrals and could be gathered for evaluation. This case study revealed that mounting a real-time Lora-WAN system for PLF is possible on desert rangeland and could offer producers a user-friendly tool for close-to-real-time monitoring of animal location and activity.