Calling their creation a “trusted 24/7 shepherd”, a local agri-tech company is using a “technology-powered lasso” to keep track of herds of livestock, minimising the chances of them being stolen or killed.

FarmRanger, originally dreamt up by Caledon-based farmer Phillip Lotter, is a device that combines an app with an electronic animal collar. The collar, which can be fixed to one animal or a number of animals in order to monitor the herd, allows farmers, foremen or the neighbourhood watch to track animals in real time, alerting them to potential theft or other threats.

The FarmRanger system addresses a key agricultural problem, as estimates are that as many as 29,000 cases of livestock theft occurred in South Africa during the last financial year, leading to financial losses which could run into the billions.

The system was developed into a commercial product by Etse Electronics, a member of the Alphawave Group, and the latest, cellular-based version of FarmRanger is already being used on over 4,000 farms across South Africa, Namibia and Australia.

The information relayed to the relevant person via the FarmRanger app features a host of different types of information, including the animal’s location, historical animal positions, together with collar data like battery level. A collar’s battery life is roughly six months.

Marius van der Merwe, Product Manager of FarmRanger, cites agri-tech as an important tool for farmers and the agricultural industry as a whole.

Speaking to Fin24, Van der Merwe said, “Agri-tech has the potential to mitigate the loss of livestock, to reduce financial pressure on the agricultural industry and to minimise the burdens of distance and real-time responses to livestock threats.”

FarmRanger does not only provide farmers with peace of mind about the danger of livestock theft, but can also help to alert them to other threats like predators.

Check out the video below to see how the FarmRanger system works.

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