The Evolving world of precision dairy technology, Part I
Keywords:individual cow monitoring, cow health, dairy technology
Precision dairy farming involves the use of technologies to measure physiological, behavioral, and production indicators on individual animals. Examples include wearable sensors (neck, ear, legs, or tail), rumen boluses, subcutaneous implants, inline or online milk sensors, cow-side tests, video analysis, and facial recognition. These technologies can help improve performance and welfare of dairy herds. This review focuses on technologies used to monitor the individual cow on the farm, and more specifically wearable sensors. Sensors should be validated to establish whether they measure the behavior they are supposed to measure ( e.g. rumination, lying, standing, feeding, or activity). In addition, research needs to be conducted to investigate whether the sensor data can accurately detect the animal condition that it is supposed to detect, such as estrus or metabolic disease. Studies have shown promise on using rumination, activity, feeding or standing behavior for early detection of transition cow disorders, such as ketosis, metritis or retained placenta. On the farm, the data collected by the sensors should result in action taking place with that animal to improve performance and health of the herd in an economically sustainable manner.