Not so long ago, farmyard security meant keeping a rifle and ammunition handy.
But there are better options, says Virgil Reed, founder and CEO of Saskatoon-based Reed Security.
“Farmyard security has always been an issue, but today there’s a lot more awareness about it due to events in the media,” says Reed.
“Farms have poor response times from the police due to their remote locations, so farmers need to take more proactive measures and create a security plan in the event an unwanted visitor comes in their yards. The security plan should include professional security solutions as well as common sense.”
Victor Podkholyuzin, manager of sales and business development with Allen Leigh Security and Communications, based in Brandon, Manitoba, says there’s been an increase in farmyard security system sales volumes over the last two to three years in all three Prairie provinces.
“With the oil prices crush and some overall economical issues the level of rural crime unfortunately significantly increased and farmers don’t feel safe anymore,” says Podkholyuzin.
“We feel the largest contributors to the increase in crime in rural communities include, but are not limited to, a depressed economy and the increased value of scrap metal and automotive parts such as catalytic converters,” says Bill Gammel, business development manager for Edmonton, Alta. based Telsco Security Systems.
Video surveillance systems ensure there are always eyes on farmyard entrances, and as a bonus can also be used to monitor livestock. Gammel says his company can also add on a wide range of features such as temperature and environmental controls.
Not all security systems are created equal, and experts recommend customizing security setups to individual operations’ specific needs.
“Stay away from Wi-Fi cameras and always install wired whenever possible,” cautions Reed. “Wi-Fi cameras are unreliable and the signal is often too weak or has interference. We’ve learned this the hard way over the past 18 years. We do install commercial grade Wi-Fi antennas when we need to connect the home to a shop or barn, but the antennas require direct line of site.”
A sales representative Regina’s Farmtronics adds that farmers shouldn’t settle for a low-end camera in lieu of paying more for a professional setup. “If you don’t catch enough detail the footage is useless,” he says.
Here’s a guide to a few of the most advanced offerings in video surveillance on the market, ranked by approximate cost. Because every system must be customized to your farm’s unique requirements, prices are only an estimate. Each company offers a variety of security systems at a range of price points or monthly payment plans.
Allen Leigh’s IP Top/Universal Mount 25X PTZ IP Kit includes a pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) camera that allows the user to monitor multiple pens or areas of the yard from the top of a pole with a 360° field of view. This unit also can be mounted upside down. The camera has a 4.8-120 mm lens that allows the user to see over 1.6 km in daylight and up to 150 m at night. This camera can be rotated 360°, tilted 90° and zoomed in/out at any time from your NVR or phone, allowing for a full field of view. It can be upgraded with more cameras or a recording function.
Reed says a four-camera ReedHD High Definition Camera package from Reed Security with professional installation offers superior quality imaging to cameras on offer online or at big box stores. Reed’s cameras record in 3MP to 4K, or four times the quality of 1080p HD. ReedHD Smart Cameras with people and vehicle detection are available as add ons, offering instant notifications to the user when there is motion in the yard.
Telsco’s wireless Videofied systems offer intruder detection with simultaneous video footage. When the Motion Viewer detects movement, an alarm is created and sent to a professional monitoring station along with secure video files via IP or cellular networks. These 10-second video clips allow viewers to filter out false alarms and can be sent to the farm owner on request.
Farmtronics’ basic IP 1 Camera Security Kit with 2.8mm lens offers a simple option for a small pen or area of the farmyard. A fixed wide-angle lens allows broad viewing width. The camera can be installed by the user. 4 Channel NVR allows the option for expanding to up to four cameras. Cameras can be set up to record on motion, with push notifications sent to the user’s phone.