Thermal or IR based stock counting?

So before I start this, please let me know if I am reiventing the wheel. If there are already reasonable solutions out there please stop me and let me know!

Our farms have cattle and sheep. I would like a drone similar to the LA100 series from Lehmann Aviation. Instead of checking out crops.

I would like the farmer to be able to open an easy to use app, click on the section of his farm he wants checked out and send it off.

The drone must be able to count livestock in camps ( a camp is a fenced off area. Farmers cycle their animals through camps to ensure that there is food and environment sustainability). 

I dont know if this would be easier/cheaper with IR or thermal imaging. I dont even know if you could put an IR reader that is sensitive enough on a drone so it doesnt have to fly too low so that it doesnt startle the animals or become a safety hazard.

Perhaps a thermal imagining drone would be better. If its possible to get accurate stock count of sheep and cattle from a camera. 

The bonus is the drone with a thermal camera can back up as a security drone to aid in anti-poaching activities at night. perhaps it can go up and use pattern recognition to try spot moving humans on your property. 

Which do you think would be better? thermal or IR? I will be using fixed wing (as farms here can be big)

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • FAA doesn't apply in his country. Not everyone flies in the USA.
    • Non sub devices. Reflective pulse oximeter.
      The tag fits inline with the industry standard livestock tag. The wire is in the ear canal, there is enough hair to help with annoyance. After 2 days the forget it's there. As for deer they can scratch the sensor out of the ear(flexible enough to reach). However for deer that are from $10,000 to $2.5 million the owners are OK with that chance. Simple reinsert procedure.

      No infection(other than normal chance when any ear tag is used)non sub. We can alert in the first 30 minutes of a fever.
    • Thank you @Guy,

      excellent technology.
      I was not aware pulse oximeter reflective sensor technology lives so close to us.

      I need to turn my Android Tablet into Pulse Oximeter device.

    • No just small battery. The new tag has a small solar panel, with a few other items GPS etc. I have an issue with GPS on a tag that would be on a deer farm. If it ever went out for harvest someone could use it to stalk. I have builtin to the software a random daily coordinates update.

      The new tag has temp, heart rate, oxygen level in the blood and GPS(limited).
      However we are just throwing everything in and removing the power hogs or items that just don't provide perfect data.
    • @Guy

      really excellent project.

      I develop small portable solar chargers, semi-flexible, laminated (4W, 8W, 12W and up - regulated voltage output 5V - 15V range).

      Ok, I am aware temp sensor works : theromometer inserted into ear as on your video,

      GPS is clear, heart rate sensor coming with thermometer but do you inject oxygen level in the blood sensor subdermal ?


      Have you studied if a cow is not getting alerted by a fremd body inserted into ear, moving head to get it removed ( long-term stress exposure syndrome) ?

      Can infection develop if oxygen level in the blood sensor is permanently injected subdermal ?

      Sorry for easy questions buy you really develop intelligent cow-robots.

      And exactly, you need to encode broadcasted GPS geolocation messages applying public/ private key encryption algorithm.

      BTW2 I didn't get your last message emailed as before.

    • Battery life 3 years.

      Thermal is another option outside of ear tag. They can be spotted easily in extremely covered cactus areas of Mexico, instead of having horses/cowboys ride wondering patterns through massive cactus searching for cattle.

      640x480 res, 35mm lens, 60hz Thermal camera. 25x zoom if needed.
    • Thank you @Guy

      I am really sorry, I expected your thermal stays for ear built-in thermoelectric generator to supply your active RFID ( high-tech Peltier based cell), technology I have tested last year.

    • Passive RFID will not work on large plots of land(as the poster requested large plots).
      There are many ways passed the issues you stated.(For us outside the US).

      I have developed an active RFID system that works up to 28 miles(See Passive only works at a few feet. So large plots of land, the cattle may not come into range of passive for days.
      I have over 30,000 acres and we use Thermal to monitor livestock and farm raised deer for research.
      Thermal will work day or night, use a 640 unit at 60hz, (with Edge Detect if possible.). Detect range 1800 feet and identify at 800 feet.

      We have years of data that this all works as the poster has requested.
    • Have added your website to my list of resource links when i get around to building this.

    • My congratulations Guy,

      if your RFID tags are active how do you recharge unit battery remotely ?

      Thermal stays for ear temperature remote monitoring ?

      60 Hz ?

This reply was deleted.