Exploring the Potential of IoT in Revolutionizing Livestock Management: Introducing Precision Livestock Farming

How can IoT help farmers better manage their livestock by implementing precision livestock farming (PLF), a technology that uses sensors, data, and automation to monitor and manage individual animals and their environment in real-time?

Article by Francois Roy, COO of Axceta

What is precision livestock farming, and why is it important?

Managing livestock has long been (and still is) a matter of experience and close interaction with individual animals. The labour shortages and expanding sizes of herds and flocks led to increased livestock illness, a decrease in animal welfare, and higher stress on farmers.

Precision livestock farming (PLF) uses sensors, data, and automation to monitor and manage individual animals and their environment in real-time. PLF enables farmers to track each animal’s location, activity, health, and behaviour and provide individualized care and treatment. PLF also allows farmers to control and optimize the environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity, lighting, and air quality, in the barns and pastures where the animals live.

PLF has many benefits for farmers, animals, customers, and the environment, such as:

  • Increased productivity and profitability by optimizing each animal’s feeding, health, reproduction, and welfare. PLF can help farmers reduce feed costs, increase production yield and quality, improve reproductive performance, and prevent losses due to diseases and injuries.
  • Improved animal welfare and health by detecting and preventing diseases, stress, and injuries early and providing individualized care and treatment. PLF can help farmers improve the comfort and well-being of their animals, reduce the use of antibiotics and hormones, and enhance their animals’ immune systems and resilience.
  • Reduced environmental impact by minimizing waste, emissions, and resource use. PLF can help farmers reduce the environmental footprint of their livestock operations by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving manure management, and saving water and energy.
  • Enhanced product quality and safety by ensuring traceability, hygiene, and compliance with standards and regulations. PLF can help farmers ensure the quality and safety of their products by monitoring their composition, detecting contaminants, and verifying the origin and history of each animal.

What are some examples of existing PLF solutions, and how do they work?

Technology continuously evolves and advances, aiming to optimize industrial production and enhance human working conditions. As a vital industry, agriculture swiftly embraces innovations to revolutionize farming, driving improvements.

Precision Livestock Farming is one of these innovations, and it takes different forms depending on the size of the farms and their location, the size of the herds and flocks, and the species of animals. There are many examples of existing PLF solutions already implemented and in production, such as:

  • Connected cow solutions that use collars, ear tags, or boluses to track each cow’s location, activity, rumination, temperature, and health status and send alerts to the farmer or the veterinarian when needed. These solutions can help farmers detect heat, calving, mastitis, and other health issues early and intervene accordingly.
  • Automated milking robots paired with an automated sort gate communicate with cows’ ID collars and use milking data through the herd management software to determine when a cow should be allowed to graze and when it should stay in the barn. An advantage of automated milking systems with sorting ability is they allow producers to focus resources mainly on the cows that need attention. A typical rule of thumb is that 80% of a farmer’s time is spent on 20% of the cows.
  • Precision feeding systems use sensors, scales, and feeders to measure each animal’s feed intake, weight, and body condition and adjust the feed ration accordingly. These systems can help farmers optimize feed efficiency, reduce feed waste, and improve animal performance and health.
  • Smart barns that use an ever-growing list of environment sensors, including temperature, humidity, gases, light and even current outside weather, and connected equipment such as fans, cool cells and heating equipment automatically, with no human intervention, 24/7, provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for the animals, reduce stress and aggression, and prevent diseases and infections.


 IoT for All has recently published an article showcasing a wide range of PLF solutions. The article provides an extensive list of examples, further illustrating the application of IoT in livestock management.

IoT implemented correctly will help farmers change from operating to managing their farms

IoT is a critical piece of technology that enables the implementation of Precision Livestock Farming solutions like the ones mentioned earlier.

These solutions use sensors deployed in or near animals, such as wearable collars or tags, that monitor the location, temperature, blood pressure and heart rate of animals and wirelessly send the data in near-real-time to farmers’ devices.

Additionally, sensors and actuators are used to create a digital replica of animals’ environments, such as temperature, humidity, light, ventilation, feeding and water availability, etc., allowing remote control and automating operations to adjust conditions based on predetermined criteria or leveraging AI models.

However, implementing IoT in PLF also poses unique challenges, such as:

  •   The harshness of agricultural environments, which can affect the durability and reliability of electronic devices,
  •   and the limited availability of connectivity, which can hinder the transmission and processing of data.


Therefore, it is crucial to meticulously design and integrate IoT solutions for Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), considering each farming system’s unique requirements and limitations.

IoT technology, if implemented and integrated right, will allow farmers to change from operating to managing their farms by providing them with real-time and accurate information, enabling them to make informed and timely decisions, and improving the efficiency and sustainability of their operations. IoT and PLF are critical features for the future of animal production, as they can help meet the increasing global demand for food while ensuring animal welfare and environmental protection.


In this article, we have delved into how IoT can revolutionize livestock management for farmers by implementing precision livestock farming. PLF utilizes sensors, data, and automation to monitor and manage individual animals and their environment. Our exploration has revealed the multitude of benefits PLF brings to farmers, animals, customers, and the environment. These include increased productivity and profitability, enhanced animal welfare and health, reduced environmental impact, and improved product quality and safety. Furthermore, we have discovered that by leveraging technology, farmers can overcome the challenges and difficulties associated with livestock farming while unlocking new opportunities and possibilities. Ultimately, technology makes the farming job more exciting and fulfilling and contributes to the sustainable advancement of the agricultural industry.


If you’re interested in learning more about PLF and IoT, or if you’re seeking a partner to help implement these solutions in your livestock operations, you can reach out to us at

We are specializing in end-to-end integration of IoT solutions in the agtech, mining, and energy industries. With deep expertise in IoT and a strong understanding of customer needs, we help design and implement IoT solutions, from sensors to data.

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