The health and fertility of dairy cows are fundamental to farm profitability. Wearable sensors can help farm management, enabling individual monitoring of behavioural characteristics. Access to timely and precise information ensures early intervention and can contribute to improved health, reproduction and cow welfare
Tech

 

Technology has changed and continues to change our lives – but it can also change the lives of cows. What does every farmer want? Easy, accurate heat detection, more calves at the right time, healthy cows and the best genetics possible.

Can you remember when you got your first mobile phone and what it looked like? Do you remember receiving your first SMS or text message and who it was from? If I told you back then that someday your cows or your client’s cows would be text messaging, you would definitely think I was crazy. Well this is what is happening on a daily basis on many farms all over the world. People involved don’t just receive text messages, they receive fertility and behaviour alerts from cows.

The MooMonitor+ is a wireless wearable sensor that allows farmers detect individual cow heats and health events through advanced data analysis. It monitors cows on a daily basis and identifies specific types of behaviour such as feeding, rumination, resting time and different types of activity intensity. These features can aid in detecting heats, monitoring feeding and rumination patterns, monitoring cow welfare and managing the health status of your farm.

Near Field Communication (NFC) contactless technology


The MooMonitor+ is equipped with NFC technology that allows users to interact with the tags through their smartphone. To assign or alter records of cows, simply swipe a compatible smartphone over the tag and the farmer can immediately update records.

moomonitor2Not only has the tag the ability to record millions of data samples each day but it is also fitted with a 32bit processor (same as a standard PC) to allow it to self-process the data before transmitting it back to the base station. The data is processed live internally using multiple behavioural algorithms to determine the animal’s exact activity whether it be resting, rumination, feeding or activity. The software in the tag can be reprogrammed remotely (while still on the animal) ensuring it is always up to date with the latest algorithms.

The MooMonitor+ Tag is equipped with a very sensitive ISM radio. This allows the tag to transmit at staggering distances in excess of 1km while maintaining reduced power consumption. This extended range allows the base station to pick up animal data from additional farm buildings and large pasture areas reducing the need for extra base stations.

With the advanced electronics embedded into the tag, along with the algorithms and software efficiency, the tag has a battery life of up to 10 years. This phenomenal power allows the farmer to gather an extensive profile of live data for each individual animal on the farm over a long period of time. When compared with other next-generation wearable sensory fitbits, the MooMonitor+ battery life supersedes most on the market today by a factor of +100.

Six data behaviour points


The MooMonitor+ records and transmits processed data every 15 minutes. Each transmission contains six data behaviour points detailing the animal’s specific activity. This advanced data granularity caters for indoor and outdoor use.

The importance of shorter feedback intervals is that it allows the user to make much more informed accurate live decisions on-farm such as information about the onset of heats allowing the farmer to inseminate cows at the right time. This is an important process on-farm as research has proven that more than 75 per cent of heats occur between 8pm-6am when the farmer is not on site to monitor animals.

The remote Farm Scanner engine allows the user to store and process all the animal data offsite in a safe, secure manor where it can easily be accessed from anywhere in the world. This eliminates the need for local backup and data storage. The data is transmitted using HTTPS (high level data encryption protocol) similar to internet banking, guaranteeing peace of mind for the user.

Easy installation and operation is crucial for many farmers. When Dairymaster designed and manufactured the MooMonitor+ the emphasis was work efficiency on-farm. Non-invasive collars are simply attached to the cow’s neck by use of a quick release buckle system that is of high durable quality. The base station is equipped with direct ethernet, WiFi and GSM connectivity eliminating the need for PC equipment on the farm in harsh working conditions.

Much like Facebook the software is cloud-based and is accessible from anywhere in the world on an unlimited number of devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) connected to the internet via a secure login. Customised reports can be easily generated remotely and exported/printed in excel/PDF format. The advantage of this is that the user, his/her employees, vet, breeder and nutritionist can all have secure up-to-the-minute access to farm information allowing for informed and timely decisions.

The data is accessible across a full range of platforms whether it be Windows, PC, tablet, Mac or smartphone across multiple languages (English, French, Japanese, Dutch, German, Russian and Chinese). The advanced mobile app designed for Apple and Android phones allow two-way interaction with the system.

It can generate push notifications, SMS messages and emails for cows in heat, or sick cows. The user can then view the data to make immediate decisions directly on the phone without the need to go back to the computer. Live data is cached, reducing the data usage and allowing the user to flick from one animal to the next with minimal download time.

Behaviour monitoring and consequences for animal welfare


Rumination data gives the farmer a great indication of animal welfare. Cows love to ruminate, it tells us how the cow is feeling and reflects their digestive performance. It can also enhance heat detection accuracy even further and indicates when a cow is getting sick. The system pushes health alerts, making a farmer aware when it detects health problems. This allows early intervention, reduced antibiotic usage and better recovery rates on-farm.

moomonitor1Resting time is associated with health and welfare of your herd. Increased resting allows up to 30 per cent greater blood flow through the udder which can increase milk yield,  because 400-500 litres of blood need to pass through the udder to produce a litre of milk. Resting also relieves pressure on the cow’s feet resulting in less lameness and better claw health. However, excessive resting time can indicate that there might be health issues. The MooMonitor+ system monitors resting, allowing you to react with appropriate measures.

Production is directly linked to feeding and by measuring feeding times, intakes can be estimated. This allows diets to be optimised on-farm, helping the farmer to establish higher production and feed efficiency.

By monitoring health and wellness as well as heat detection famers are more informed about their cows. The technology is labour saving, thus enhancing the quality of life. Improved productivity and cow health can be achieved as a result of better data management for employees, making the whole farming processes more profitable, enjoyable and sustainable.

http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/moomonitor3.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/moomonitor3-300x300.jpgDavid O'RiordanTechagriculture,innovation,technology
  Technology has changed and continues to change our lives – but it can also change the lives of cows. What does every farmer want? Easy, accurate heat detection, more calves at the right time, healthy cows and the best genetics possible. Can you remember when you got your first mobile...