I'm an IT professional with some land and some livestock. I am a part time farmer, but am very part time, and am looking for ways of saving time in every aspect of my farming. One of the most time consuming parts of the job is counting the livestock, and just generally monitoring them. Sometimes you just won't notice problems unless you just watch for a while. Good animal husbandry is not something you can rush. However, it is something you can do more efficiently I think!!
Being a bit of a techie, I'm interested in ways of improving the efficiency of this process, to free up more time to do a bit more "productive" farming.
I know absolutely nothing about electronics, but here is my idea:
Produce a small weatherproof device that is strapped to the animal and does the following:
1. power/charge itself from the movement of the animal, like a kinetic watch that needs no batteries (or at least only needs batteries change every few weeks)
2. send the coordinates of it's position at preset intervals. I'd like a google type map of my farm with dots representing each animal. I'd like to be able to calculate how far/fast each animal has moved, with warnings being flagged if an animal has not moved for a long period of time, or is constantly moving rapidly (both bad signs), and needs attention.
I'm thinking/hoping some sort of gps coordinates could be transmitted in some way ultimately to a server which will plot them on a map, and process the data to generate any warnings, etc.
3. Minimum running costs (e.g. network charges , etc)
4. Minimum maintenance. Little use if i have to catch every animal every few days to change batteries, manually download info, or whatever.
I have seen various products on your site that might be combined to achieve this (e.g parcel tracker is a good start).
So i guess I'm wondering if my wishlist is in anyway achievable or realistic, and if anyone has suggestions on how I might go about it.
Even suggestions of books on electronics to help me understand my options would be useful.
There are commercial options available, but they are expensive, and thats no fun!