Cargill turns to 'droids' to make cattle herding safer

By Dori Modney with files from Cargill
November 2, 2018 - 2:53pm Updated: November 2, 2018 - 6:11pm

WICHITA, Kan.  --  Cattle production continues to go high-tech, with Cargill having developed an industry-first robotic cattle driver, aimed at improving animal welfare and employee safety.
The agri-food giant says the robot is designed to improve animal welfare by reducing human contact when moving the cattle from holding pens to where they are slaughtered.
Well-known Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Sciences at Colordado State University,  sees the robotic cattle driver as a major innovation.
“This device will lead to huge strides in employee safety while moving large animals and reduce the stress on cattle across the country.”

It took Cargill two years to develop the prototype, utilizing input from animal welfare experts including Grandin, beef plant employees and engineers from equipment supplier Flock Free. The robots can operate in rain, snow or mud, with no delay in daily operations.
 To move the cattle, the robot has waving arms and audio recordings which are controlled by an operator using a joy stick.

The robotic cattle drivers are manufactured by the New Jersey-based company Flock Free.  Cargill says each of its U-S and Canadian beef processing plants will receive two robotic cattle drivers early next year. 

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