Satellite Cattle!

Satellite Cattle!

Cow wearing satellite collar Well, we aren't sending cows up into space (not yet anyways!). But we are using satellites to track them. We have put GPS (global positioning system) collars on several cows in our herd to see where they spend their time, where they go, and what they do. The collars receive satellite signals that pinpoint the location of the cows to within a couple feet of their true location at any time of the day or night. You are probably thinking "Why would you want to do this"? Well, the information is being developed with the idea of eventually helping ranchers locate the best spot to put water or salt for the cattle. By doing this the hope is that the entire pasture will be more evenly utilized by the cattle and reduce areas of over and under grazing.

Now your asking, why can't ranchers do that now? Well, in small pastures it is pretty easy to figure out where to locate water and mineral to even out utilization. The problem is when ranchers are dealing with pastures that are several THOUSAND acres in size that locating water and mineral becomes difficult. In the western United States pastures can be as large as a HUNDRED THOUSAND acres.

One of our jobs here at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center is to research and test new technologies such GPS collars which may be able to help ranchers better manage their lands.

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