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HerdDogg, MLA partner on large-scale animal health pilot study

System provides rapid and accurate breeding and health insights on individual animals, whether in the barn or pasture.

HerdDogg, an innovator of precision livestock and remote animal health solutions, announced that it is partnering with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) for the largest real-time cattle health pilot project ever conducted.

The MLA-funded pilot will install DoggTags on 10,000 animals on several grazing properties and feedlots across New South Wales, Australia, the announcement said.

The goal of the MLA-HerdDogg pilot is to provide earlier indications of animal illness, to improve overall animal health and to test a new long-range Bluetooth system capable of transmitting biometric and proximity-based behaviors at a distance of 300 m from the DoggBone readers.

Founded in 2015 by Melissa Brandao, a serial entrepreneur, HerdDogg markets a patented "internet of things"-based system that includes DoggTags (attached to the animals’ ears), the cloud-connected DoggBone readers (placed at strategic sites around the farm to gather livestock biometrics and behavioral data) and the HerdDogg mobile app (to provide anytime/anywhere access and alerts for each animal’s health record).

“Until now, technology solutions for the beef industry have been expensive and unsuitable for remote areas, whereas our low-cost system is designed for grazing operations,” Brandao said.

Data gathered will be made available to Australian researchers to further develop insights for the benefit of the advancement of the Australian meat and livestock industry.

MLA is actively involved in demonstrating how Australian red meat is produced sustainably in welfare-focused systems, according to the announcement. By approving funding for this trial at its August meeting, the MLA board is again demonstrating global thought leadership for the entire global industry, the announcement said.

MLA just published a report that combined the results of several research activities aimed at exploring and uncovering the potential value for ranchers if they could remotely monitor the location, behavior and state (LBS) of the animals under their management. The report noted that positive economic impacts can be realized only if the hardware can be provided at an appropriate cost, if producers actually adopt the technology and if decisions that drive profitability can be made from the LBS data, HerdDogg said.

“Despite significant private-sector activity, we have yet to see a commercial solution that Australian producers can easily buy off the shelf and implement on an extensive grazing property,” said Sean Starling, MLA general manager of research, development and innovation.

Researchers such as Mark Trotter, associate professor of precision livestock at Central Queensland University, want to see wider deployment of tags across different Australian grazing systems because this will allow researchers to really explore a rich data set from which a range of behavioral algorithms and alerts can be developed, the announcement said.

“We are currently testing the HerdDogg system on cattle here at (Central Queensland University),” Trotter said. “We’ve been using these types of sensors in a research context for years, and the data tells us an enormous amount about the animal: its reproductive status, grazing activity, health and welfare.”

MLA is a producer-owned company that delivers world-class research and development and marketing outcomes that benefit Australian cattle, sheep and goat producers. Working in collaboration with the Australian government and the wider red meat industry, MLA's mission is to deliver value to levy payers by investing in initiatives that contribute to producer profitability, sustainability and global competitiveness.

Headquartered in Ashland, Ore., HerdDogg Inc. is a venture-backed agricultural technology start-up focused on key indicators of animal health and well-being.

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