Crop analysis using satellite imagery and, more recently, drones and remote sensing to help farmers improve their yields has been increasing. Drones have become particularly helpful in monitoring and improving crop production because the real-time images help farmers react more quickly to weed invasion, pest infestation, inventory management, yield projections, and nutrient deficiencies, among other issues.
While drones have been beneficial to growing crops, could they be equally effective in raising farm animals? Makerere University’s (MUK) Department of Veterinary Medicine approached Uganda Flying labs in January to support them in developing a proof of concept on livestock tracking using drones in the cattle corridor initiated by Prof. Francis Ejobi. The initial planning for this task was challenging. How could our knowledge of crop technics be applied to moving objects such as cattle? The team had to take the bull by the horns. After some literature review and research on use cases, the team was ready to go to the field.
Cattle-raising has become as exciting to Ugandan farmers as crop farming. MUK has seen the need to use robotic technology and software applications to ease veterinary professionals’ work since they are thinly spread compared to the country’s animals. The major challenge for the veterinary department is to track compliance with government regulations on animal transportation.