A GEO-VISUAL ANALYTICS APPROACH TO BIOLOGICAL SHEPHERDING: MODELLING ANIMAL MOVEMENTS AND IMPACTS
Other literature type
Benke, K. K.
Pettit, C. J.
The lamb industry in Victoria is a significant component of the state economy with annual exports in the vicinity of $1 billion. GPS
and visualisation tools can be used to monitor grazing animal movements at the farm scale and observe interactions with the
environment. Modelling the spatial-temporal movements of grazing animals in response to environmental conditions provides input
for the design of paddocks with the aim of improving management procedures, animal performance and animal welfare. The term
"biological shepherding" is associated with the re-design of environmental conditions and the analysis of responses from grazing
animals. The combination of biological shepherding with geo-visual analytics (geo-spatial data analysis with visualisation) provides
a framework for improving landscape design and supports research in grazing behaviour in variable landscapes, heat stress avoidance
behaviour during summer months, and modelling excreta distributions (with respect to nitrogen emissions and nitrogen return for
fertilising the paddock). Nitrogen losses due to excreta are mainly in the form of gaseous emissions to the atmosphere and leaching
into the groundwater. In this study, background and context are provided in the case of biological shepherding and tracking animal
movements. Examples are provided of recent applications in regional Australia and New Zealand. Based on experimental data and
computer simulation, and using data visualisation and feature extraction, it was demonstrated that livestock excreta are not always
randomly located, but concentrated around localised gathering points, sometimes separated by the nature of the excretion. Farmers
require information on the nitrogen losses in order to reduce emissions to meet local and international nitrogen leaching and
greenhouse gas targets and to improve the efficiency of nutrient management.