RFID Sheep Ear Tags in Victoria and Track with Phantom 4?

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No idea whether this can be done as it's new to our area. Murtoa (population 800 people) is in the Wimmera area of Victoria, Australia.
I am doing crop mapping for farmers with Phantom 4 Advanced Drones.

Now the issue. Farmers are asking me to find and track sheep in very large areas which is possible as can fly at hundred metres or more until I find the mob.

All sheep being bred after 1st Jan 2017 must now be tagged with RIFD microchip ear tags, that meet ISO 11784/5 compliant. Hand held stick readers and monitors on drafting races / stock crushes are all that are being used at present.

I have been asked by farmers if my Phantom 4 Advanced can be used to read these chips from the air. I have no idea. Victoria Police's Agriculture Operations Group Leader has no idea it it's possible. I've googled and looked at what is on the DJI site, under Agriculture and there is a DJI Smarter Farming Package that will fit in well for crop health maintenance. Vicpol will b e involved very rapidly if it is achievable to find sheep that have been stolen. (There are 200 million sheep in Oz; there are 24 miullion people and 85% live in a few majotr cities)

However, does anyone know if it is possible to set up a Phantom 4 some way to read the sheep's microcips when the sheep are out in a paddock?


I have sent an email to DJI on this as well as contacting Vicpol's AgLo Officer ib charge and now asking the companies who supply the tags,

But PhantomPilots should have been my first call :)

I'm hoping you guys are more aware and computer savvy than me

Thanks in anticipation.

Ross
 

N017RW

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Not an expert but what comes to mind is:

Weight of reader,
Range of reader,
and Can you get close enough to read without startling the animal or flock?
 
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The mobs of sheep will not get itchy if I hover the Phantom up say above 30 to 40 yards (metres). Lower than that, some will get restless and move off.... so that's an issue for sure.
Then the information I've come up with Googling and talking to Agricultural suppliers is anywhere between two metres to about 20 *which seems extra ordinary but my knowledge of these microchips is very limited).

Then the weight ~~ yes ~~ and being able to single out sheep.


Seems like I;m looking for the impossible with these chips and current reasers.
Thank you NO17RW.
 
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No idea whether this can be done as it's new to our area. Murtoa (population 800 people) is in the Wimmera area of Victoria, Australia.
I am doing crop mapping for farmers with Phantom 4 Advanced Drones.

Now the issue. Farmers are asking me to find and track sheep in very large areas which is possible as can fly at hundred metres or more until I find the mob.

All sheep being bred after 1st Jan 2017 must now be tagged with RIFD microchip ear tags, that meet ISO 11784/5 compliant. Hand held stick readers and monitors on drafting races / stock crushes are all that are being used at present.

I have been asked by farmers if my Phantom 4 Advanced can be used to read these chips from the air. I have no idea. Victoria Police's Agriculture Operations Group Leader has no idea it it's possible. I've googled and looked at what is on the DJI site, under Agriculture and there is a DJI Smarter Farming Package that will fit in well for crop health maintenance. Vicpol will b e involved very rapidly if it is achievable to find sheep that have been stolen. (There are 200 million sheep in Oz; there are 24 miullion people and 85% live in a few majotr cities)

However, does anyone know if it is possible to set up a Phantom 4 some way to read the sheep's microcips when the sheep are out in a paddock?


I have sent an email to DJI on this as well as contacting Vicpol's AgLo Officer ib charge and now asking the companies who supply the tags,

But PhantomPilots should have been my first call :)

I'm hoping you guys are more aware and computer savvy than me

Thanks in anticipation.

Ross
I'd be surprised if it would be feasible:
Here is what I know about RFID...The RFID chip placed on the animal or car, package, whatever, is a passive device, meaning it has no power source. It operates by receiving the RF signal from the "Interrogating" unit and converts that into energy to operate it's very low power transmitter. When any distance is required, the Interrogator transmitter becomes quite powerful in order to provide enough energy at the RFID to allow it to generate enough power to respond.

That said, many RFID applications are for sensing ranges of inches to a few feet. The higher power applications which I am familiar with are only on the order of a few meters or so, as in toll booths for cars.

There are many industrial applications which I am not familiar with, but my understanding is that those are still on the order of meters of range, IE: devices on a pallet in a warehouse.

This makes me believe that a drone based unit would be impractical because of the range vs Interrogator size tradeoff. I hope this gives you a starting point at least.
 
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Thank you to those who replied. ~~ I have not had an interest in electronics in my 64 years at all. Starting to get an interest because of the drones, more specifically the three Phantom 4 's I have. I never realised just what technology was involved in drones nor how intricate a DJI drone could be. Thank you.

I'll read up on the subject and see if there are other ways to count sheep prior to mustering for shearing. Because some farmers have so many, thousands are not uncommon with single flocks over 700 in size at shearing time, it's an interesting one.

The drones will be great for locating the mobs and the cockies (colloquial for farmers) will find that a time saver.

It has been suggested marking the sheep on their back but that's not possible through sheer numbers and lack of manpower. Plus any marked wool would down grade the who 300 kg bale at auction.
 
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If getting low, without spooking the animals is a show stopper, perhaps suspending the reader from the bottom of the drone could be an option. A challenge to the pilot for sure, but it may work in some instances.
 
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I thought the use of RFID tags for sheep had been delayed ? In NSW at least the agent s were not happy with the prospect of scanning up to 30000 sheep prior to a sale Saying they had enough trouble with errors/misreads with cattle where the numbers were far less.
Do you use RGB for crop mapping/health ?Or just visual inspections?.
I used mine to acces aphid infestations in canola last year .Although you couldn't see them on the tablet they could be seen clearly on a laptop later.

My experiency when it comes to stock and phantoms is that cattle are curious and sometimes will come right up to the hovering drone where as sheep run like its a scene from War Of The Worlds .So a low straffing style run might get you the readings you want :)
PS Come in low with the sun behind you .
 
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At the moment, the farmers are asking for visual only inspection and photos of their entire crops. If there's a demand for it, I'll get tone of the software mapping programs compatable with the Phantom and use RGB.
The agronomist companies are just getting into drones for checking on crop health. Few farmers have drones yet for work.

The cattle really pay no attention unless the drone drops in quickly and hovers very low over their heads. Sheep only get a bit touchy when the drone is below about 30 metres; otherwise, they'll keep on feeding or resting.

I only really got involved as I've used the drones for filming at weddings, race meetings for money but birds, especially raptors, as a hobby. Funny with birds of prey too. The Wedge Tails really pay no notice and just soar up and up away from the "intruder"

Hawkes and kites during burning off tend to circle in around the drone looking for the food that the Phantom has seen, I guess. But they are very hard to film.

Tags are now compulsory and the cockies not really sold on the idea at all. The tags they are buying are the cheapest that meet the set standards. I was thinking about aerial checking on sheep not only to get an idea of what sheep are where but see if sheep are where they should be.

Sheep thefts are on the rise around here in the Wimmera with mobs of a hundred plus going in one hit. So the AgLo Vicpol officers are pretty keen too on anything that can keep tabs on the sheep, and I think that means checking those tags.

Checking for stolen stock in a mob for police on the ground is costly and has OH&S issues too.

Murtoa, Victoria.
 
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Hi Ross,

I've tried hanging a avalanche beacon off a phantom 4 pro - while it can work as a demo there are problems with electrical interference with the drone as well as making a lightweight drone like the phantom 4 oscillate as the phantom drone struggles to maintain flight control with the weight hanging below the drone. For the RFID tag project - using a m200 series drone along with their payload sdk might be more appropriate.

We are developing a DJI app for cattle - which might be useful for you. One item we are working in is using machine learning or ai to recognize objects from a low cost phantom. You can see a blog post here on our efforts: Drone Farming | United States | SilverDyn Software . Eventually we'd like this to include livestock identification too.

Cheers,

Dave
 
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I went to Allflex USA's website and looked at their smaller readers. The smallest one, under a pound, has about a 20cm read distance. The wand type is available in two lengths and has read distances of about 40cm and 60cm respectively.
 
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I spoke with someone from Gallagher recently. The technology with RFID is probably too limited for this. However, there has been so.e work done (not at gallagher) with tags that use UHF and have much more range.
 

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