The remote location of farms is ideal for light fingered thieves. From sheep to heating oil, everything is up for grabs. With the arrival of low cost and reliable sensor equipment, we designed a monitoring and alerting system to reduce losses for farmers. We’re the eyes in the back of their heads.
The cost of theft from farms continues to increase. The farmer cannot be in all places on the farm, 24 hours a day. According to rural insurer NFU Mutual, farm animals worth £3m were stolen from UK farms in 2019.
Additional items such as quad bikes, machinery, heating oil and timber are regularly stolen by professional and well organised gangs.
Using a technology called LoraWAN (a long range radio system) we were able to use low power sensors with a 10 mile range with their sensor information being received by a single ‘gateway’ on the farm, which in turn was connected to the Internet.
We selected suitable sensors for gates, doors and movement and tested them locally.
For the farmer, we designed and build a couple of ‘information displays’ which confirmed if say a gate was open (Gate Watch) and also a unit with status lights and a textual display to show more detailed information.
The whole system was then completed with a robust control centre on the Internet to process all incoming data and generate alerts, warnings and status information to the farmer.
The developments units were tested on-site with a measured sensor range of 5 miles for all sensor types.
This real-world testing proved the reliability of the system and the units are now ready to move into production.
The system can monitor unexpected gate openings and reduce theft attempts of fuel, tools and other stock.
Importantly, the system can immediate detect unauthorised movement of expensive equipment such as tractors, vehicles and quad bikes, especially at night, raising an alert directly to the farmer as a text or alarm on the display units.
Considerable insurance savings
Following talks with insurance companies, this remote monitoring and alerting technology is set to save farmers thousands of pounds each year and make their farms very unattractive to thieves.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to find out more.