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Tuesday, Nov 28, 2023

Camarillo Technology in A Cow’s Ear

Monitoring the health of cattle is a new use for long-range radio technology developed by Semtech Corp. Last month, the Camarillo company announced it will provide components used on trackers that are placed in the ears of cattle on ranches and feedlots. The ear tags include sensors that track the movements, temperature and vital signs of the cattle to give an early detection of sickness. Hardy Schmidbauer, director of wireless products at Semtech, said the long-range, or LoRa, technology is suited to cattle monitoring because it can transmit data over great distances in remote regions that lack cell service and it needs only battery power. “If you want that device to remain in the field for multiple years, it is a good use for LoRa technology,” Schmidbauer said. The LoRa technology provides the range and reduced interference needed to track thousands of animals on one dashboard, the company said in its announcement. The trackers were designed and tested by Communication Systems Solutions, a Lincoln, Neb.-based company specializing in long-range communication technologies. They will be distributed by Quantified Ag, a startup also based in Lincoln, to large feed lots in the United States. Quantified Chief Executive Vishal Singh said the wireless trackers are an improvement over the traditional method of visual inspection of cattle to determine if they are sick. “With our new LoRa-based health monitoring system for livestock, we are able to remove that human observational element so that animals cannot hide their symptoms anymore,” he said in a statement. Semtech’s LoRa technology has been used in other agriculture-related uses such as water metering, Schmidbauer said. The Quantified Ag deal is the first public announcement the company has made to let the ag market know what the technology is capable of, he added. Even just a few years ago, this long-range, low-power technology wasn’t available, despite customers wanting it, Schmidbauer noted. “You are going to see a big growth in the volumes of these applications because we can meet those needs on cost, battery life and how well it operates in the target environment,” he said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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