Commercially available global positioning system (GPS) tracking collars for cattle are cost prohibitive for most researchers. This paper presents a low-cost alternative to those collars (Knight GPS tracking collars) and compares their performance to a popular commercially available collar. A list of required materials and detailed instructions on fabrication are available in the supplementary content. Brangus cows (n = 8) were tracked with both LOTEK 3300 and Knight GPS tracking collars for 31 d beginning 14 March 2015 at the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center 37 km north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Locations were recorded every 10 min and used to calculate mean slope, elevation, distance from water, distance traveled per d, and elevation for each cow. No differences were detected (P ≥ 0.37) between collar types for location, slope, or distance from water. However, the distance traveled tended (P = 0.08) to be lower for Knight collars (6 171 m d− 1) compared with Lotek collars (7 104 m d− 1). Lotek collars recorded more (P ≤ 0.001) of the potential locations (99.9%) than the Knight collars (66.2%). Although the Knight collars failed to record all of the potential positions, they still provided a good indication of cattle locations on extensive pastures located in the Chihuahuan Desert.
- less expensive
- tracking collars
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law