Botswana: Company Unveils Cattle Tracking Devise

Digital Content

Gaborone — Innovators Perspective in partnership with Wandering Shepherd Company has introduced a livestock and wildlife tracking system dubbed Wireless Rumen Bolus (WRB).

This livestock and wildlife tracking system was invented, developed and produced in Canada. The product comes in at a time when cattle producers in SADC and other regions in Africa rely on ear tags to track their herds and protect their investments.

But ear tags can fall off, get snagged on fences or be removed and furthermore the ear tags could only identify the animal and not measure its health and environment.

Speaking at a press briefing last week, the co-founder and chief innovator of Wandering Shepherd, Mr Neil Helfrich said the Wireless Rumen Bolus System allows herds to be closely tracked on a compressive list of metrics and the bolus is administered orally and stays in the rumen of an animal throughout the animal's life.

"It must be said that this technology is the only one in the market that keeps the bolus inside the animal for life, this means more accuracy, more accurate information, more comprehensive information for the producer including entrust cycle, early sickness detection and locate lost or sick cattle in time," said Helfrich.

He said some of the benefits include low treatment costs, labour savings and preventative and fully automated temperature, locating, recording and alerting twenty four hours.

Mr Helfrich said the Wireless Rumen Bolus was a unique product and that its patented design allows it to stay upright as the technology does not require expensive hand-held scanners or readers.

"Because there are radio frequencies set to and from the bolus, it needs to stay in an upright position even when the animal is moving," Mr Helfirich said.

He explained that if a rancher had 500 cattle roaming across grazing tracks all of the boluses would be networked together and this allows data to jump from one animal to another. "If one animal is out of reach of a cell phone tower its data can be relayed via its herd mates," said Mr Helfrich.

He said the rumen bolus did not have side effects and would be made to accommodative farmers with ranches and free range farmers.

For his part, the founder and chief executive officer of Innovators Perspective, Mr Emmanuel Motlhathedi said due to the challenges faced by the beef industry and cattle monitoring in Botswana, they thought the wireless rumen system would be able to address them.

He said even though their project had not yet been approved, they were having negotiations with the Ministry of Agriculture, Botswana Meat Commission and Botswana Telecommunication.

Mr Motlhatlhedi said they have agreed with their partners that the manufacturing plant be built in Botswana, and was expected to create employment to the youth and equip them with knowledge on the technology.

He said the product would be distributed in Southern African countries and to be rolled to the rest of Africa. He added that the bolus would be sold at P50 per beast, but that there were other determinants that could determine the prizing. He said the life span of the bolus was 10 years and that it could be recycled. The launch of the product would be held on February 2016.
Source: Daily News 1 November 2015