Presentation Title

Thermal Imagery to Count Cattle with UAV Technology in an Industrialized Beef Operation

Format of Presentation

Poster to be presented Friday March 31, 2017

Abstract

In the beef cattle industry, managers track daily inventory of animals by enumerating cattle in individual paddocks within an expansive feedlot, which is a very time and labor intensive task. Today’s agriculture routinely uses sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). More specifically, the use of UAVs in agriculture is a new and expanding technology that has the potential to be a key part of the cattle enumeration system. Having the ability to take a picture of a pen at a fixed height with thermal imagery while using UAV technology, would cut down on the time it takes to perform this task. It would also potentially increase enumeration accuracy and ultimately improve the management of the cattle in an intensive setting. In this study, I investigated the potential of UAVs for use in agriculture. Specifically, I sought to develop an automated cattle enumeration system and looked to find a response to how we can decrease the time it takes to count cattle in an industrialized beef operation. In doing so, I investigated the ability to count cattle in an individual paddock using thermal imagery, using image processing software and a UAV. We developed a method in which we could fly the UAV on an automated path to take a picture at a fixed height using an infrared camera. In addition to taking the thermal pictures, we used image counting software to automatically enumerate individual cattle within a given area.

Department

Natural Resource Science

Faculty Advisor

John Church

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Thermal Imagery to Count Cattle with UAV Technology in an Industrialized Beef Operation

In the beef cattle industry, managers track daily inventory of animals by enumerating cattle in individual paddocks within an expansive feedlot, which is a very time and labor intensive task. Today’s agriculture routinely uses sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). More specifically, the use of UAVs in agriculture is a new and expanding technology that has the potential to be a key part of the cattle enumeration system. Having the ability to take a picture of a pen at a fixed height with thermal imagery while using UAV technology, would cut down on the time it takes to perform this task. It would also potentially increase enumeration accuracy and ultimately improve the management of the cattle in an intensive setting. In this study, I investigated the potential of UAVs for use in agriculture. Specifically, I sought to develop an automated cattle enumeration system and looked to find a response to how we can decrease the time it takes to count cattle in an industrialized beef operation. In doing so, I investigated the ability to count cattle in an individual paddock using thermal imagery, using image processing software and a UAV. We developed a method in which we could fly the UAV on an automated path to take a picture at a fixed height using an infrared camera. In addition to taking the thermal pictures, we used image counting software to automatically enumerate individual cattle within a given area.