Optiweigh and Inmarsat join forces to support Australian farmers with smart livestock weighing solution
Optiweigh and Inmarsat join forces to support Australian farmers with smart livestock weighing solution.
Key benefits of IsatData Pro (IDP) Global: highly reliable global coverage with one device Low cost: affordable technology optimised for industrial IoT/M2M Ease of use: easy to install, with low power consumption for long-term operation Flexible: users have a range of device options for software and system integrators Complements mobile wireless at low incremental cost including hybrid multi-network devices
Company background Optiweigh is a reliable, automated in-paddock weighing system that provides livestock farmers with a smart, fast and cost-effective way to remotely monitor and measure the weight of the livestock in their herds. The product was officially launched in 2019 and is now available across every state in Australia.
The challenge In commercial cattle operations, monitoring the weight of animals regularly is crucial to optimising profitability and costs. A 2009 study estimated the cost of failing to meet weight targets to be approximately AUS$8.50 per head of cattle . This is estimated to cost Australian farmers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Regular weighing helps the farmer decide when to sell the cattle to achieve the target weight and avoid penalties, as well as optimise the feeding regime, which is a major cost of the operation. Traditionally, weighing cattle is a manual and time-consuming process, which involves manually gathering the herd in. In Australia, where farming is often carried out over huge areas of remote land, the process can take days and incur significant costs. This also means there is a limit to how regularly data can be gathered, which limits the ability for farmers to accurately optimise their feeding regimes and the timing of sale to hit market targets for carcass weight.
The solution The Optiweigh remote weighing system enables farmers to obtain accurate weight readings at regular intervals without the cost, time and live-weight loss associated with manually weighing cattle. Optiweigh’s self-powered system weighs the front two feet of the animal and uses highly accurate algorithms to generate whole body weights which are sent to the farmer in real time to view on their smartphone or laptop. The system is highly portable and can be towed from one paddock to another with ease.
Within 23 days of deploying the device, the farmer receives an accurate snapshot of the weight of individual animals and the entire herd, without the need to spend hours of time travelling between enclosures to manually herd and weigh cattle. This saves fuel and reduces vehicle maintenance costs. Remote weighing can also increase productivity, as the cattle can continue to graze without needing to be placed in a holding pen whilst waiting to be weighed.
The system depends on reliable 24/7 internet connectivity so that data can be continually collected, analysed and transmitted to farmers, but with many farms in Australia located in remote rural areas, a lack of reliable network connectivity is a common problem. Optiweigh has integrated Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service as a cost-effective approach to send low-data-rate messaging from the device to software platform. By leveraging Inmarsat’s global satellite network, the solution is able to operate effectively from any location.
The results Optiweigh was launched in early 2019 and now has 33 units placed across every state in Australia. As Bill Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Optiweigh explained: «We are getting fantastic feedback from our customers. One farm in Queensland had a weighing programme for 2,000 cattle that previously took three days from start-to-finish. They now weigh the herd remotely, with data automatically transmitted directly to their laptops or mobile phones.
»The high accuracy of this data has meant customers are able to sell cattle at the right time with higher returns, and these savings mean they have more money to invest back in their farms. The partnership with Inmarsat has enabled us to ensure our customers will be able to obtain critical real-time data from wherever the Optiweigh system is on their farm."
The Optiweigh system and the objective data it generates has huge potential to enable the industry to become more environmentally friendly. For the first time, farmers can prove the live weight gain of their cattle and the time to market which could help to lower greenhouse gas emissions (in terms of methane from cattle and the extra fossil fuels used in the day-to-day operation) for each kilogram of beef produced.
About Inmarsat Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band,Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.
The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety & operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.
Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.
About Inmarsat Enterprise Inmarsat Enterprise is the leading global provider of satellite-enabled managed connectivity services for land-based organisations. We are enabling the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and helping transform business outcomes across a diverse set of sectors, including agriculture, aid and NGO, media, mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, transport and utilities.