5G, AI used to automate counting cattle in 12-month NSW trial

The use of technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence to facilitate the labor-intensive practice of livestock counting has been tested by telecommunications provider TPG Telecom.

The company said in a statement that a 12-month trial had been carried out at Tamworth, adding that such methods could save time and money and also increase productivity.

The trial involved real-time automated counting of cattle being loaded and unloaded from trucks at the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange in northern New South Wales.

5G and AI image processing capabilities were used in the trial, which enabled multiple high-definition video streams to count cattle. The data was then sent to the park manager via a tablet or a mobile application.

TPG Telecom said automating this process could mean simultaneous counting at multiple locations in the retail park and in other retail parks as well.

The videos are stored and can be reviewed in the event of a dispute over the numbers.

Brock Syphers, NSW Regional Development Manager of AAM Investment Group, said: “Most people think counting livestock is as easy as counting sweets, but counting fast-moving four-legged beasts is a completely different ball game.

“Counting livestock takes a lot of bodies, hours of labor and real skill to make sure you get the numbers right, while making sure the animals are healthy, cared for and your people are safe.

“This is a game-changer for the industry and can give our team more time, resources and the next level of accountability that is crucial on sale day. The 5G smart solution can help provide greater certainty for buyers and to sellers, by providing clear evidence that the cows that arrive at the sales yard are the same cows that leave when sold.

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology Officer of TPG Telecom, said: “This project is a great example of how labor-intensive industries like agriculture can benefit from the significant increases in economics, resources and productivity made possible by 5G.

“It demonstrates how 5G networks and AI image processing, cloud computing and edge computing technologies can automate manual processes and increase efficiency.

“We look forward to seeing how this solution can be rolled out nationwide to deliver greater benefits and efficiencies to all Australian industries.”

The trial was carried out with the help of Nokia, University of Technology Sydney and Amazon Web Services. Funding was provided, in part, by the federal government’s 5G Innovation Initiative.


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