Shepherding in New Technology: Drones, RFID and More

I was recently listening to a message at church that was discussing sheep and shepherding. The speaker was saying how different the farming and ranching profession has become over the years as a direct result of technology.farming-technology

As I understand it, thousands of years ago, shepherds used to “know” each of the sheep in their flocks individually, much as we are able to identify and recognize our own household pets today.

However, the amazing thing is that back then shepherds didn’t just have one or two sheep to remember. They had dozens of sheep – even hundreds sometimes – in their care and they knew which sheep were theirs and which belonged to another shepherd. I am still dumbfounded thinking about having such a personal relationship with…a sheep!

Today, shepherding has taken on a much different form.

If you were to find yourself on a sheep meat or wool producing farm, here are just a few ways that you would probably find technology being used to increase productivity and keep cattle safe and healthy.

New Technology for Farming:

  • Helicopters and Drones

Remember the days when every little boy dreamed of being a cowboy, riding around on his bucking bronco with his boots in the stirrups and handkerchief over his face? Things have evolved far past the days of singing “Home on the Range” by the campfire. These days, livestock owners (cattle ranchers and shepherds alike) are relying on helicopters and drones to fly low – close to the livestock – to herd them faster and more efficiently than ever before.


  • Texting, Cameras and Sound Technology

Using surveillance cameras and sound technology to identify wild dogs approaching the pasture is used to prevent attacks on the flock. Famers can be informed via text message when their sheep are in danger and spring into immediate action!


  • EID (electronic ID) Tags

Using cattle ear tags printed with a visual identification number and embedded with an RFID chip (also widely used with other types of livestock), ranchers can identify individual animals from one another with handheld RFID readers. Tags can be scanned while the sheep are on the move and there is no need to “know” each sheep individually. Each tag can even store individual animal information, such as medical treatments or pasture locations.


  • Ultrasounds

Farmers can plan for the births of new lambs by performing ultrasounds. If an ewe is expecting two lambs, she will be fed more than an ewe expecting one lamb. Also, they can improve lamb survival rates and growth rates using the ultrasound technology.

Technology is amazing, isn’t it?


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About the Author:

Carmella-BioCarmella Giancursio is L-Tron’s Public Relations Specialist & Content Editor. When she’s not working, spending time with her husband, or taking care of her 3 young kids, she can be found in the kitchen, channeling her Italian heritage!  Email with questions, or call us at (800) 830-9523.