Using smart-sensor technology to monitor sheep behaviour, health and wellbeing

NZM's three-year collaborative Sensing Wellbeing project aims to utilise smart-sensor technology to remotely monitor sheep behaviour, health and wellbeing. While the trials are only in the early stages at the moment, the longer-term aim is to monitor animal welfare in real-time across an extensive farming situation.

If successful, Sensing Wellbeing will deliver a whole new level of understanding about sheep behaviour, and will make it possible to detect animal welfare issues (such as misadventure, injury or illness) earlier than is usually possible in extensive production systems.

The first phase of the project is focused on identifying reliable (and measurable) behavioural patterns to determine the wellbeing of sheep. The next stage involves developing and trialling monitoring systems with the potential to be scalable in extensive sheep production systems. 

The on-farm work is supported by consumer insights research that highlights the animal health and welfare issues that matter to consumers. 

 Monitoring ewes and lambs as part of the on-farm parturition trial. 

Monitoring ewes and lambs as part of the on-farm parturition trial.