Farm Security Cameras in Australia: The Ultimate 2022 Guide

Last Updated on November 15, 2021

With rural Police often some distance away, farms are easy targets for crime. They are too large to defend effectively and have high-value items on their property. Whether it’s theft of farm equipment, livestock, produce or even just trespassing, farm security cameras can help protect your assets.

However, due to the vastness of some farms and limited connectivity, they require customised solutions. In this article, we’ll share the most common targets and what farm security cameras to use to protect them.

by Bryce Whitty

started ProtectFind to help people get the right security system for their goalsBryce is a registered Security Advisor who started ProtectFind to help people get the right security system for their goals.

1

What are the Most Common Farm Crimes?

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), an estimated 17 per cent of farmers have experienced one crime related to their farming activities. However, it is believed that only two thirds of farm crime is reported.

In 2002-03, the AIC estimated that farm crime costs the Australian economy $70 million, with the average cost of crime per farm being $5,701. The losses incurred can be crippling for some farms.

Below is a graph with the percentage of farms in Australia who were victims of farm crimes, separated by type.

Types of Crime on Farms

These are some of the key areas to cover with farm security camera systems:

  • Fuel tanks
  • Water supplies
  • Various internal fence lines and boundary fences
  • Farm gate
  • Holding pens

2

Types of Farm Security Cameras 

The type of cameras you choose for your farm security system depends on how much money you want to spend and how reliable would you like it to be.

Consumer-Grade Wireless Farm Security Cameras

These wireless farm security cameras are the lowest cost entry into some basic farm monitoring, but they have many limitations too.

They usually have a wide field of view, allowing you to see more of your farm but less far. This means that they will need to be within 6 metres or so to identify someone, which is not much on a farm.

They are usually triggered by a PIR sensor that detects humans or animals' heat. The problem with this is it has a limited range, usually only 10 metres.
There is also a question of the reliability of plastic

consumer-grade cameras in the dust and heat found on an Australian farm.


Consumer Grade Wireless Farm Security Camera

Trail Cameras

Trail Cameras are built to work as rural security cameras in rugged environments. Some will only record to an SD card, while others use 4G connectivity to send alerts to smartphones.

Many are sold in camouflage colouring if you don't want them to be noticed, and some have no or "low glow" infrared, so you can't see the camera's red infrared lights at night, making it truly stealth.
These can be mounted on houses, poles or even trees, many coming with straps to mount it to a tree.

Some operate on batteries only which you need to replace now and then, and some can be supplemented with a solar panel to keep it charged.


Trail Security Camera

Prosumer-Grade Wired Farm Cameras

Wired security cameras provide the best level of reliability if you have wired internet available (like in the house).

"Prosumer" means Professional Consumer, above consumer-grade but below the expensive professional-grade cameras you might find in a bank or casino.

Wired farm cameras provide a great bang-for-buck, but there can be challenges with getting them connected, as mentioned in the next topic.

It is best to use either a Turret camera or a Bullet camera, as

Dome security cameras can get too much dust on their dome in rural settings.

Prosumer-Grade Wired Farm Cameras

Pole Mounted Solar Farm Security Cameras

These security cameras mounted on a pole are often used as construction site cameras. These are a good choice when getting power and internet to a location (like a farm gate) is difficult.
They can be rented and custom-built to your requirements to include things like strobes, spotlights, and 4G modems.

They usually contain a battery and are self-sufficient with their solar panels.

Pole Mounted Solar Farm Security Camera

3

Getting Farm Security Camera Systems Connected

The problem with farm security cameras is that you need to solve two problems: power and connectivity over large distances.

Due to the large distances involved with farms, most off-the-shelf solutions available at most electronics stores would not work. You would generally need a custom farm security system that is specific to your situation.

Wired – Short Distances (< 100m)

If your buildings are close enough, digging a trench and laying down cables is a reliable way to set up farm security cameras. However, this process can be costly if your locations are far apart.

Wired cameras are more challenging to set up first but always result in a more reliable install. They are not prone to wireless interference, signal strength problems or Wi-Fi hacking.

We have a switch/router in the house and a network cable running through a buried conduit into the bar in the example below. This setup assumes there is power in the barn.

Wired Farm Security Cameras

Point-to-Point Wireless – Medium Distances (500m – 3KM)

Most consumer wireless routers aren’t powerful enough to send a Wi-Fi signal far from the house, so a traditional wireless security camera may not work in the position you want it, like out in a barn. A Point-to-Point wireless bridge can connect two networks over many kilometres depending on the line of sight.

A point-to-point wireless bridge involves having two-directional antennas with a direct line of sight to each other. This can sometimes be placed on the side of a building, but putting them high on masts to get the signal over ground obstacles is also common.

In one structure, you might have a recording device (NVR). In another structure, such as a barn, you might have farm security cameras. The point-to-point wireless antennas connect these two networks. If running a buried network cable is unviable due to distance or obstructions in the ground, a point-to-point wireless bridge might be the next best option for large properties in terms of reliability.

Wireless Point-to-Point Farm Security Cameras

Very Long Range Farm Surveillance Cameras in Remote Locations

Remote security cameras are also known as game cameras or trail cameras. They are camera hardware built inside a rugged enclosure and usually triggered by motion.

A battery usually powers them, but some also use a solar panel to keep the batteries charged long-term.

If 3G/4G connectivity is NOT available:

The inexpensive units have no internet connectivity and record videos locally into the SD card in the camera. But, this requires regular maintenance to retrieve files from the SD card. You also won’t be alerted to suspicious activity in real-time. So, the recordings are more of an after-the-fact viewing. It won’t stop the crime from happening, but you may have an idea of who did it.

Using 3g / 4g for Security Cameras in Farms

3G/4G Cameras if connectivity is available:

More expensive trail cameras can have 4G connectivity and can be placed any distance away from your home. These trail cameras can be viewed live and send motion alerts and pictures to your phone in real-time. Of course, the location would need a decent 3G/4G signal to use these, which is not always available in remote farm locations.

Trail Security Camera

Example of a 4G-enabled Trail Camera

Remote Farm Security Camera

Real-world Trail camera found at the Phillip Island Nature Park.

4

Choosing the Right Farm Security Cameras

Once you know how the cameras will be connected and powered, some thought needs to be given to the features of the camera.

Lens / Focal Length

Most off-the-shelf camera kits come with a wide field of view, usually around 90 – 110 degrees. These are popular because they allow you to see a wider area. However, the person would need to be within 9 metres to be identified. This is usually fine in a suburban backyard, but not a farm with large distances.

Farm security cameras should be placed to monitor commonly targeted and high-value items like farm machinery. If that object is distant, a farm security camera with a tight field of view should be used to get enough detail of the intruder’s faces orthe number plate of a vehicle.

A camera with a wide field of view can also be used to support it to get more of an overview of the farm. We go into the field of view and optical zoom more in this article.

Security camera view distances on farms

Long Range Night Vision

Most consumer-grade security cameras have a relatively short night vision range, usually around 9 metres. Beyond that, it may be total darkness. Prosumer or Professional-grade cameras can see up to 45 metres at night, which can also be supplemented with additional infrared lights.

5

Farm Gate Security Cameras

While you may have cameras set up throughout your farm monitoring machinery or livestock, one of the key areas is to have security cameras at the entrance to your farm. Both power and connectivity need to be present at the front gate, which isn’t always easy. The farmhouse could be just a few metres away from the gate or set 200 metres or more back. This means that trenched wire, point-to-point wireless, or cellular service are all options to help stop farm theft.

 

Wired Farm Gate Cameras

If the farm gate is close enough, you can run both power and network down a trenched conduit (PVC tubing). This may be a good option if your gate is less than 100 metres away.

Wired Farm Gate Camera

Point-to-Point Wireless Farm Gate Cameras with Solar

If the gate is too far away, you may need to use point-to-point wireless and a solar panel with a battery as your power source. The only issue with point-to-point wireless is that it needs to have line-of-sight from the gate to the house. There are a number of pre-made options available that have a solar panel, battery/electronics box, security camera, and pole. 

Solar Farm Gate Camera

3G/4G Enabled Farm Gate Cameras with Solar

If point-to-point wireless is not practical such as having no clear line-of-sight to the gate or just too far away, a security camera with a sim card might be an option. However, this does require cellular signal to be available in your area, which is not always the case on remote farms. Many construction site security cameras are suitable to be placed at a farm gate.

3G/4G Solar Powered Farm Gate Cameras

If the goal is to capture number plates, especially at night, you may need two cameras at the gate. One camera to capture what the vehicle looks like, and number plate camera specifically configured to capture number plates. The reason why two are needed is most cameras will wash out the license plate with infrared at night.

6

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Best Farm Security Cameras in Australia?

The best farm security camera systems are the ones that fit your unique situation the best. Speak to a security installer to discuss your unique situation and get Prosumer or Professional grade cameras. Many consumer cameras won't last long enough in a harsh farm environment.

Can I Get Farm Security Cameras Without Wifi?

Without Wifi, your two choices are either a wired ethernet connection from the main residence which allows for lengths up to 100 metres. Or a security camera with a 3G/4G connection to the internet. If you want to go without any sort of internet connectivity entirely, then a basic trail camera that records to an SD card would be suitable.

Can you Put a Security Camera on a Tree?

Yes, in fact this is very common with Trail cameras. Some brands even allow you to match the camouflage print to the type of tree it is. You can use screws to mount a security camera to a tree. Some cameras (such as trail cameras) have straps that go around the tree as to not harm the tree. It is best to use stainless steel, aluminum, or other rust-proof nails/screws for your camera mounting.

7

What’s Next?

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the options available for a farm security system. Now is the time to talk to a local installer to discuss the most effective solutions for your property.

If you have any questions not covered in this article, you can get in touch here, and we’d be happy to answer them.


Sources:

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