The prospect of cattle being sprayed with Quick Response (QR) codes looks extremely likely following a recent brainstorming meeting on the potential used of apps held between T-Mobile and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The idea of buyers being able to use their smartphones to scan the barcodes for detailed information on the history and husbandry records of particular stock received an extremely positive reception at the meeting; particularly as it was seen as a more cost-effective alternative to the present system of using expensive scanning equipment to read the information on the electric tags that farmers currently attach to their cattle.

Other ideas proposed at the meeting for using apps included:

• The provision of live images via small cameras located in a scarecrow’s eyes in order to identify the movement of birds and other pests around crops. With the installation of night-vision cameras, the facility would also be able to provide covert 24-hour surveillance of farm property so as to help identify any trespassers or rustlers

• The remote control of that same scarecrow’s positioning using links between the phone and an installed motorised device within the body of the scarecrow

• A similar remote control function used to monitor and direct the movements of a robotic sheepdog ‘drone’

Although some of the ideas from the meeting were generally admitted as being less immediately realisable than others, most agreed that the session had been invaluable in looking at potential cost-cutting and time-saving methods.

Farmers, reminded T-Mobile’s Martin Stiven, are ‘often adopting mobile technology well ahead of the field’.