Farmers Using a Drone for Livestock Monitoring….Just sleep better at night.

Every time I pull up to my farm and look out over the pasture I’m nervously checking the whereabouts of my cattle.  Those times when they’re tucked back in the fence corners, under a hickory tree and out of sight; makes my heart palpitate and my mind wander, not good for a nearly middle-aged guy!   or swimming pool?  Please tell me no!  I mean, I can’t walk back there, It’s a bloody 400 yards to get to the back of my property.  Do you know how many ticks would attach themselves to me in 400 yards?  At least one for each 100!  So, since we can all agree that walking 400 yards to the back of my property is out of the question, I’ve started to ‘scale’ my vision by using my Drone to keep track of my livestock.

Having cattle for me is a hobby, but for some it’s their livelihood, which makes keeping track of them all the more imperative.  I’m not saying it’s less important for me to, but for those whose livelihood depends on cattle for subsistence or sale, may I suggest using a drone for  monitoring livestock.

A Job for The Nimble Drone.

Like my post about the Acai Poaching, or the Rat infestation; my nimble drone armed with its 4K camera makes Yeomans work of livestock locating.  It takes seconds to launch my Mavic and fly the 400 yards to inspect the rear fence corners for potential AWOL cattle.  I’ll leave those aforementioned blood thirty ticks for some other sucker!

The trees, ravines, and creek are no match for my Mavic’s 12 MP camera, my only gripe is it’s lack of zoom.  If my budget allowed for the DJI Inspire 2 or DJI Matrice 210, which are exceptional Livestock Monitoring Drones, then zooming in on the gnat taking up residence on the hind end of one of my cattle could be attainable.  But, dropping $2-3K on something I’m entirely capable of crashing and destroying, is simply not worth the risk…Yet.

Fence inspection with my Drone

I spent an hour this weekend driving the entire fence area in my beat-up golfcart with my weed sprayer mounted on the back.  The weight of the fully-loaded spayer, forbid me from ascending even the largest of ant hills, so I was forced into tacking back and forth to make my way up the 20% grade.  My goal was the eradication of noxious weeds residing on my fence, along with a military-like inspection of the fences’ efficacy. Downed trees on fences act like a detour sign for intellectually challenged livestock, so I need to keep it simple.

It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this use case has a viable future.  Check out this post from insideunmannedsystems who writes about the fencing at the 5000 acres surrounding the Memphis Airport, which are currently under the watchful eye of drones.  If you’re interested, here are a couple UAV’s considered ideal for Livestock Monitoring,

Drone Manufacturers using Geofencing

And while we’re on the subject of boundaries and how they relate to drones, you need to be familiar with Geofencing.  Geofencing is the practice of using a Drones software to limit the boundaries of where it can fly.  Sounds like big government watching our every move, and, well it probably is.  However, it’s important to keep knucklehead pilots from flying drones across airport runways, or into the heavily populated baseball stadium. Yes, as with many things, the few have to ruin it for the many!

Geospatial Environment Online.

DJI, the largest manufacturer of consumer drones, calls its Geofencing software, Geospatial Envoronment Online. When trying to fly in a restricted area, this Geofencing Software will prohibit the drone from taking off, or from entering restricted airspace.  The DJI Go application, used to control the drone in flight, has a cache of restricted areas already built into the software, and regular updates allow for additional areas.  Heliguy points out in this Post, drone operators should be conscious not to fly near Prisons, Power Plants and Airfields.  My concern is; the amount of restricted airspace is actually increasing, so my hope is the Feds don’t get too carried away with it.

During my research of this post, I ran across this site and felt the need to share it.  The author shows the stark difference in topography, when boundaries of the Have’s are divided by those of the Have-Nots, all as a means of educating people on the subject of inequality.

What are your thoughts Livestock Monitoring Drones?