Fitbits on cows sounds like science experiment gone wrong but students at Hastings Secondary College have been learning about how technology is revitalising the farming industry.
Taking part in a science based workshop on June 13, students were able to see and use cutting edge technology with representatives from CQ University.
PhD student Eloise Fogarty said researches at the university are working with farmers to attach accelerometers to livestock to see how efficiency in farming can be improved.
"My research is focusing on using the devices to improve lambing outcomes in pregnant sheep but the possibilities for the research are endless," Ms Fogarty said.
"The devices have a GPS so farmers would be able to monitor where their livestock go meaning they would be able to tell how often they are drinking or which paddocks they go in.
"In the future they may be able to detect disease, when livestock are giving birth or to identify if a mob are being attacked by a predator, such as wild dogs."
Students in years 7-10 took part in the workshop.
She said that during the workshop students were able to attach the devices to themselves while their groups tracked their activity around the school's oval.
"During this activity, data will be live streamed to an iPad allowing students to observe how the change in activity influences data," she said.
"The trip is all about showing interested students some of the potential job opportunities for them after school. I work in agriculture but I am based in the city of Sydney so there are lots of options for students who want to work with technology."
Hastings Secondary College Westport student Shannon Davis said it was exciting to use the technology.
"We learnt how we could use technology to measure cows. I found the sessions pretty cool and interesting because I didn't know this technology existed," Shannon said.
"Before doing the hands on session I thought you had to be with the cattle but this technology provides farmers and researchers more information that assists the welfare of the animals."
Brodie McGee from the Future Farmers Institute at CQ University said the workshops were part of a wider push to engage students in STEM subjects.
"We want to increase awareness about how technology can be used in a wide range of professions," Mr McGee said.
"Traditional farming is great but we are constantly losing farmers and locally produced agriculture so we are trying to find ways to make farming more efficient and want younger people to engage in the sector..
"While we are focusing on research the real world applications are endless for this technology."
During their visit to Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus Mr McGee also conducted a workshop designed to get students to measure the sugar in fruit.
"Sweet science is what we call it but it is really about showing students how much sugar is in fruit compared to what they originally thought," he said.
"Students tasted a range of fruits before ranking them in order of sugar content before testing them to rank them in order of sugar content which was a lot of fun."
The workshops were conducted with the STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) initiative through regional development Australia.
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