HerdWhistle generates data never before seen in the history of feedlots. Feedlot operators can now get a precision look into each individual steer’s feeding and drinking behaviours. No matter if they have 1,000 head or 50,000, HerdWhistle tracks every time an animal eats or drinks 24/7, and reports it back to the operator.
Traditionally, feedlot management has focused on the herd. Due to the number of animals and few available technologies, it was impossible to collect data on every feedlot steer throughout the day. But recently, the idea of “Precision Livestock Farming” (PLF) has exploded. PLF brings smart technologies, like smart sensors and software, to the livestock sector in order to collect data on individual animals.
The dairy industry has been one of the main adopters of PLF technology. For example, smart ear tags, or collars, with built in sensors are used to monitor the dairy cow’s health and activity. Dairy cattle spend more time in production than any other farmed animal, thus each cow has a high value to the farmer and can justify a pricey monitoring technology.
When it comes to feedlots, there can be 1,000 to 50,000 cattle on one operation. Cattle can spend as little as 3 months on a feedlot and are relatively low value when compared to a dairy cow. Putting an expensive collar on each animal is not economically feasible. The costly barrier to entry has been a big deterrent for feedlot operators of all sizes.
HerdWhistle has changed the game for feedlots. It made feeding and drinking behaviour monitoring economically feasible by tapping into industry standard ear tags. Every feedlot steer is already assigned an ear tag when they arrive at the lot. HerdWhistle’s tags just have an added RFID chip inside. Every feed bunk is lined with RFID sensors and every water trough has a sensor installed above it. Now every time a steer eats or drinks, data is collected and analyzed for atypical behaviours.
The data collected by HerdWhistle shows 24/7 reports of time spent feeding/drinking, number of meals, number of drinking bouts, among dozens of other key metrics. No system has ever been able to capture this kind of data at this scale. Using the metrics, HerdWhistle can detect patterns of sick animals days before they show any visible signs of illness. It compares the animal with its own past behaviour, as well as its behaviour compared to the rest of its pen. When a problem is detected, the feedlot operator is alerted so they can pull the animal for treatment ahead of time.
HerdWhistle is the first affordable 24/7 cattle monitoring system with full feedlot coverage. The data it produces is a game changer.