Sensors reveal cows' secrets

Sense-T Dairy and Beef Project Team are unlocking the secret lives of cows using sensors and a novel data mining algorithm.

As part of the project, cow collar sensors have been attached to a number of animals at the TIA Dairy Research Facility. The challenge then lies in figuring out what the data means.

They've developed an algorithm that analyses the sensor data and translates it into a cow behaviour, such as grazing, ruminating or walking. When they check their results with field tests (watching cows), they've gotten an impressive 95%+ accuracy rating.

Having unlocked the cows' secrets, they are now using this information to explore how a cow's grazing behaviour can be used to optimise supplementary grain feeding, identify oestrus events and monitor cow health.

The cow collar sensors have been developed by CSIRO. The next generation, new and improved sensors are due in the coming months. These new collars have the potential for wider adoption within industry and the potential to allow production optimisation on a per-animal basis.

Cow with collar at TIA Dairy Research Facility

Image: A cow with a sensor collar grazes at the TIA Dairy Research Facility

Published on: 05 Jun 2014