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Student’s solar powered livestock tag is first to remotely monitor flock welfare

An electronic tag that enables farmers to remotely manage livestock welfare via their smartphone could improve farming efficiency and reduce the number of deaths during birth.

WM Systems, designed by Loughborough University Industrial Design and Technology student Ollie Godwin, is a solar powered tag that records animals’ heart rate and body temperature every five minutes and alerts farmers to potential health problems.

The tag, which also monitors livestock location, is ideal for use during lambing where body temperature spikes in the hour prior to birth. Whenever a body temperature or heart rate reading is detected outside of set parameters, an alarm is signalled on the farmer’s phone enabling the farmer to go to the animal’s aid.

The innovative system is suitable for a wide range of livestock, including cows, pigs and goats, and can also signal when an animal is in distress. With the addition of a single signal bouncer, it has a range of up to 15 miles (this can be increased further by adding more signal bouncers).

The associated app removes the need for manual data entry, reducing risk of human error and slashing the time needed to complete paperwork.

Designer Ollie, who was inspired to create the tag after helping his mother lamb his sister’s pedigree Zwartbles sheep, believes his invention is the first system that autonomously monitors livestock welfare. He said:  

“For the first time, farmers can access remote 24-hour reporting on their livestock. Not only will this allow farmers to react quickly when their animals need them, but it also mitigates the need for regular night visits during birthing season.   

“Whether they have two lamas, 200 cows, or 2,000 sheep, the system can be customized to their needs.

“As industry profit margins continue to shrink, farmers need to explore every angle to reduce their costs. By automating these areas of welfare management, farmers reduce the man hours needed to care for and report on their livestock.”  

Ollie is exhibiting WM Systems this week at New Designers – the UK’s most important graduate design exhibition. He is one of 14 Loughborough Design School students to be showcasing their final year projects.  

For more information visit www.ogodwin.com or email ollietgodwin@gmail.com

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 16/97

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.

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