03 July 2015 | Online since 2003

rsquo;Texting cowrsquo; technology could be boost for farmers



12 February 2012 16:59:41|Cattle,News

’Texting cow’ technology could be boost for farmers


A smart collar which closely monitors the health of cows and sends the results back to farmers using mobile phone technology is being developed as part of a three-year-project co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board.

The Technology Strategy Board has given a substantial grant towards the £1.4 million project to develop the technology, which could make huge savings for farmers. It is the result of a joint project between The University of Strathclyde, Morrisons, Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), NMR, Harbro, Well Cow and Embedded Technology Solutions (a Strathclyde spin-out company) – who are developing the technology.

The equipment involves each cow wearing an intelligent collar that picks up on subtle movements with the same sensor used in Wii gaming and generates a continuous record of their activity patterns.

Results will then be sent back using a range of wireless technologies like 3G, with a full update accessible via a hub or even through a mobile phone. It is envisaged that farmers can set up alerts for their phone to receive a text when a cow is in distress, coming in to heat or entering labour.

Wireless technology means that the signal from the cow’s collar would be accessible from anywhere, so farmers can check on their cattle’s status using their phone wherever they are.

It will provide vital improvements in the important areas of cow illness and streamline the insemination process.

By accurately sensing the cow’s head positions in three dimensions, the collar will be able to detect if the animal’s hind legs begin to lower – one of the initial signs of illness.

The sensor on the collar will also detect when a cow is coming into heat and alert the farmer so he can optimise the process of insemination, increasing cow pregnancy rates. Without this technology, close monitoring of each cow, which can take hours every day, is required to look for the signs of heat.

With both efficient insemination and cow health crucial for farm profitability – the development could help to sustain the financial future of farms.

The collar technology is now entering its next phase thanks to a grant from the Technology Strategy Board and a commitment by Morrisons to provide its farm at Dumfries House in Scotland for the testing of the technology.

Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: "Economic success and technological advancement are both essential to addressing major global challenges. This innovative project can contribute to both and go on to continue Strathclyde’s extensive record of translating ground-breaking research into high value, high quality products."

Annette MacDougall, Embedded Technology Solutions Ltd CEO, said: "The Silent Herdsman platform is a decision support tool for farmers, alerting them to take action on specific animals within their herd. By advancing the platform to the next generation alongside our industry partners, we are leading in this segment by continuing to produce innovative solutions that are relevant for farmers today and the global dairy industry at large.

"Meeting the demands of traceability and sustainability in the food chain can be addressed long term using wireless and sensor technologies at the core."

David Evans, Morrisons Head of Agriculture at Morrisons, said: "The future of farming is extremely important to us as a business, as is animal welfare. This technology can help secure it by allowing farmers to monitor the health conditions of individual cows far more easily and accurately.

"Not only can this development help to save the farmer money, it can also help to keep food affordable."

Andy Warne, Managing Director at NMR Plc, said: "It is rare to come across a development such as Silent Herdsman which has ’game changing’ potential for dairy farmers. NMR believes this TSB initiative will strengthen the UK industries that seek to collectively promote the advancement of improved efficiency, in animal health and welfare."

David Alvis, who leads the Technology Strategy Board’s work on sustainable agriculture and food, said: "We are delighted to support this innovative project.

"Addressing animal health and welfare challenges and improving animal performance monitoring are vital pieces of the food security jigsaw. The technologies developed through this project have the potential to benefit farming communities in the UK and around the world and we wish the partners every success."

Download




Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


Start Date: 24 June 2015
Herdsman on 400 cow dairy farm. Family accommodation available - job in Buckinghamshire.

We require a keen  herdsperson for our 400 Jersey cows near High Wycombe. We have a 20/40 h-b parlour with aut...


Start Date: 23 June 2015
Experienced tractor driver / general farm worker needed for harvest and autumn drilling work. Job in North Yorkshire. 

Family farm with a 600ha arable enterprise looking for an experienced tractor driver to join our small team of dedi...


Start Date: 22 June 2015
Skilled arable operator. Permanent job in Suffolk

We are looking for a skilled arable operator with PA1 and PA2 certificates who also has experience of spraying operations.&nb...


Start Date: 1 July 2015
Do you want to progress in farming?  Ideal second job out of college for General farm worker with arable skills happy to work with stock  >>>Manningtree<<< 

Looking for promotion?  Looking for your next  step?  This is an ideal  job if you want more responsibili...


Start Date: 3 July 2015
J536: Business Development Manager - Genetics - South

Business Development Manager - Genetics - South The Role
An exciting full time opening has arisen for a Business Development ...





Top stories you may have missed
5 June 2015 | Cattle

A strong pound and increased red meat imports coupled with a plentiful dome...


5 June 2015 | Arable

Depression is affecting Wales' farming industry and there is a need to use ...


5 June 2015 | Arable

With just one week to go before the final judging and announcement of the w...


5 June 2015 | Finance

A rural law expert has highlighted the importance of good succession planni...


5 June 2015 | Farmshops

A south Yorkshire dairy farming family is pulling out all the stops to prom...


4 June 2015 | Finance

Predicting what is going to happen to wheat prices is a challenge, but in s...


4 June 2015 | Agri Safety

A Lancashire based livestock theft prevention scheme is aiming to go nation...


4 June 2015 | News

A female farmer has been recognised by the farming and conservation industr...


4 June 2015 | Finance

The new Conservative government appears to be preparing to implement cuts f...


4 June 2015 | Arable

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will have mobile support units at the follo...