New collar fights stock theft

2019-06-19 06:01

A SOUTH African agri-tech company believes it has found a way to tackle livestock theft via a “technology-powered lasso” that tracks animals remotely 24/7.

Called FarmRanger, the device combines an electronic animal collar and an app.

The collar is fixed to one animal or a select few, but is used to monitor the herd.

If any abnormal movement is detected, the system uses cellphone towers to alerts the relevant person, or neighbourhood watch.

“They then use the app to track the animal in real-time, following the detailed information on the app to find the animal’s location and effectively prevent it from being killed or stolen,” said Marius van der Merwe, product manager of FarmRan- ger.

The device – originally the brainchild of Caledon farmer Phillip Lotter – was developed into a commercial product by Stellenbosch-based Etse Electronics, which falls under the Alphawave Group.

Over 4 000 units are currently in use across SA and Namibia.

It’s taking on a significant problem.

At the end of 2018, it was reported that the last financial year saw 29 000 cases of livestock theft in South Africa. This costs billions, taking its toll on the agricultural economy.

A Unisa study found that some R1,3 billion was lost to livestock theft in a single year.

Van der Merwe said the FarmRanger can minimise the burdens of distance and real-time responses to livestock threats.

— Fin24.

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