Protect your livestock from being stolen

The threat of having livestock stolen is a reality for all farms, no matter the size, or the location. In NSW alone, stolen livestock have cost farmers around $22.5 million over the past five years. The Land along with figures released by the NSW Police Rural Crime Prevention Team, reported that in 2020, cattle to the value of $2.3m and sheep to the value of $2.2m were stolen in NSW alone. In Victoria, these livestock theft figures total more than $2.1m for the period of March 2019 to March 2020. Between 2017 and 2019, livestock theft figures for South Australia total over $3m.

No state is exempt from being a target. One of the biggest driving factors making farms vulnerable are the soaring meat and wool prices. Taking this into consideration, livestock theft is becoming a lucrative enterprise. Unfortunately, farmers are too often reluctant to report theft of any kind on their property. The main reasoning behind not reporting theft is the assumption that police could do nothing about it, or that the farmers themselves have no evidence, or they are concerned about possible retaliation for reporting the crime, amid a host of other reasons.

But what can you do to ensure your farm is protected against theft?

Crime prevention measures

While reporting incidents to your nearest police department is an absolute must, there are other measures that you can put in place to aid in protecting your livestock, machinery and even crops.


Video Surveillance

Increase the security on your farm by placing video surveillance in prime locations, such as paddocks where your livestock is or where important assets are kept. With Farmdeck’s Video Surveillance feature, you get additional features aside from video monitoring, such as license plate recognition and event logs that differentiate movements from humans, vehicles, and livestock, making it possible to identify trespassers. This increases the odds of retrieving the stolen livestock or assets. Through our feature, you’ll be able to remotely monitor your farm in real time and receive alerts for entry and motion detection for certain areas.

Livestock theft prevention;

Record keeping

It is imperative that you keep and maintain accurate and up-to-date records of all livestock on your property, including identification numbers. Thorough livestock and identification tracking prevents thefts but also assists in recovering stolen animals. This can be done through sheep ear tagging (part of the National Livestock Identification System – NLIS). Aside from being a mandatory requirement in some states, it is required by law under the Biosecurity (NLIS) Regulation 2017.



It may sound simple, but it is important to keep all paddocks, sheds and stockyards chained and locked with secure locking devices. No matter how rural your farm is, keep your gates locked. It doesn’t have to be a high-tech locking device, a padlock connected to a steel chain is more than enough to be a deterrent to would-be thieves. Additionally, make sure that your hinges are secure and not moveable once the gate is locked (you want to prevent thieves from lifting your gate by its hinges).


Be aware

It’s important to remain vigilant of who is around your property during your daily farm activities. Any slow driving, unfamiliar vehicles should be regarded as suspicious, as should any individual walking past your farmland more than once as they could be scouting your farm. If in doubt, always report any suspicious activity to the police.

Keeping livestock safe

While criminals are the major cause of livestock theft, livestock can also be lost due to pests attacking them, or due to livestock wandering off on their own. This is why it is so important to regularly check your fences’ condition. Routine maintenance on fences can mean the difference between losing your livestock and keeping them safe. This is especially true if you have an electric fence, which ensure your livestock remain in their enclosure and also prevent livestock attacks.

Farmdeck’s fence sensor eliminates the extensive amount of time and effort needed to manually find and fix faults in your electric fences. It can easily detect and locate fault areas by sending you alerts when voltage is low. You can view these details on the Farmdeck application without having to go out onto your property to examine your entire fence line. This means that you can rest easy knowing that your electric fence is working.

Farm safety;

Safeguarding your property

Implementing these measures don’t need to be difficult or costly. Speak to us today about how we can increase the safety of your farmstead, for both your livestock and staff, with our all-in-one IoT solution that makes farm management safer and more efficient.

Let us help give you sight into what’s happening on your farm in real time, from any device.