Case Study: Farming Camera Solutions
Overview: This case study details a CCTV system that was installed on a farm in a rural location to improve security, animal welfare, and to deter rural crime. The study details the impact on the business, along with the health and wellbeing of the farmer.
Philip and his wife are the proud owners of a beautiful small holding in the Mendips, home to their much-loved Highland Cattle, Sheep, Alpacas, Ducks, Geese, Chickens and their two beautiful, and very friendly, dogs. Despite the beautiful scenery and innate calm that resonates from the small holding, the hard work involved in caring for the animals and land, can be incredibly tough.
Philip got in touch with us as he was interested in using farm cameras to assist with lambing and to help with the security of his animals as his yard is around 250 metres away from his property. Being in a rural area and wanting to view the yard from his home, a system needed to be devised that would suit his needs and property. Most yards don’t have a fast enough internet connection or a strong 4G signal to stream video, which means getting the video feed from the yard to Philip’s home was an issue that needed to be overcome. Working with our team, a system was created to integrate modern technology into a traditional job to bring more of a work life balance and fulfill the need that Philip had. This has not only helped his business, but also his own wellbeing and health.
Philip initially began with one static IP camera covering his lambing pen. When lambing time arrives for farmers, like Philip, they must keep a close eye on the animals to ensure their safety and welfare during birth. Historically for Philip this required trips to the sheds throughout the day and night to see if animals were well. The walk between Philip’s home and his animals is 250 meters and through rain, snow, dark and dusk Philip makes that trek to ensure his animals are safe, happy and healthy. No matter how diligently he checked on them, he couldn’t be with them at all times and inevitably fatalities would happen during calving and lambing if he could not be with them in time. Though very sad to lose an animal, this also has a great financial impact on the farmer. Philip told us that ‘the system paid for itself within its first lambing season with the animals it saved’. One of his most prized sheep Missy and her lamb, Princess would not have survived the birth if he had not of seen Missy exhibiting unusual behavioural traits from his monitor in his home. After a difficult birth, Princess was welcomed and went on to be an award-winning addition to his flock.
Philip credited the camera system alone for saving the lives of several of his animals that season and began to expand his system with the help of his account manager. To make the system work we added a PoE switch and upgraded his WiFi bridge to a more powerful higher data rate transmitter by ubiquiti. With our point-to-point WiFi bridges we create a strong data link that allows the transmission of video back to a farmhouse. Huge ranges of up to 5 kilometres can be achieved in clear line of sight. We then added a Hikvision Pan Tilt Zoom Camera and three additional IP cameras to his existing one to allow him to watch other areas of his yard. Some systems require trailing wires between the yard and the home but we have created a system that has avoided this for several reasons. Wires, if seen, can be easily cut by anyone wishing to vandalise the security of a property. They can also be damaged unintentionally by the heavy machinery used for farming. Though wiring can be protected by burying deep in the ground, the excavation costs can be extensive and it is very hard to find damage caused to the wires by burrowing animals.
With his extended kit, Philip could now allow his system to support him during calving as well as lambing. One of Philip’s highland cows began to calf early while he was 45 minutes away from home. Luckily, as a precaution, he was keeping an eye on the cattle using his smart phone while he was away and was able to see the event unfolding. A cow in labour will be restless, getting up and lying down and walking with her tail outstretched behind her. Noticing these signs, he asked his Mum who was nearby to be there in case of any issues. 15 minutes later Smokie was born. Farmers are often tied to their land during lambing and calving time, but Philip can now remotely access his system from afar to check in on things, whilst visiting family. He knows that if his animals need him, he can check on them and arrange for someone close by to watch over them until he is home. This gives Philip and his wife more freedom than they have had in previous years and lessens the risk to the herd.
As well now being able to watch all his animals with his additional cameras, Philip is now able to maintain the security of his land. Though rural crime is considered less of an issue than in cities, equipment such as quad bikes, tractors and even animals are often at risk of being stolen. Rural insurance specialists, the NFU, as reported by Somerset Intelligence, estimate the cost of rural crime to the UK to be £42.5 million a year. From his home or afar, Philip can watch for trespassers and suspicious activity and protect his assets no matter where he is. Seeing that cameras are installed is often alone enough of a deterrent for thieves and trespassers. From the receiver within the house the video feeds run down into a Hikvision NVR to record all the footage. This allows a higher level of protection should any breaches of security take place as he can capture the footage and provide it to the authorities. By having the recorder in the home, the recordings are protected from any trespassers or thieves within the yard trying to destroy evidence.
The system in place has been incredibly beneficial to Philip’s business and though the care he has for his animals is deep and his passion for their care resonates in how he talks about them, calving and lambing time can dramatically decrease the wellbeing of the farmer as they put the welfare of their animals above their own, losing sleep, and important time with his own family. With his system, Philip has been able to create a higher level of balance during this time. He could leave his monitor on in the background and keep one eye on his animals whilst still being able to enjoy his dinner with his family. To improve his sleep during this important time, Philip’s wife will keep an eye on the system while she’s at work, allowing Philip to catch some sleep in the quiet spells and she can call him should he need to check on the animals. The more sleep Philip has, the more his productivity levels rise, and the better care he can give to his animals. If Philip or his wife do see any problems, they do still need to trek to the yard but having the system means the number of trips backwards and forwards has decreased and as such the amount of time at home together has increased.
Though Philip is now all set up with his system we’ve maintained an ongoing relationship with him with our technical support service. Philip explained that this is what keeps him coming back to us over anyone else as the support he received with his kit is priceless. We recognise the importance of how time sensitive it can be getting a system back up and running when things go wrong.
If you require support on creating a security system for your land, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. We have been designing and selling bespoke camera systems for farming applications for a decade. In this time, we have used our experience to help farmers monitor their animals and property, saving time and stress in some of the most difficult times of year allowing a greater work life balance.