December 8, 2016 - Hi-Tech, Covert Monitoring of Dairy Cattle

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Thursday, December 8, 2016 - An Austrian start-up company, SmaXtec, is placing connected sensors in cows' stomachs to transmit health data over Wi-Fi.

The hot dog sized device, which has roughly four years of battery life, is inserted into the rumen.  The sensors track minute-by-minute data about the temperature of the cow, the pH of her stomach, movement, and activity, and can identify when the animal is in heat. They can predict whether or not a cow is pregnant with 95% accuracy. When changes are monitored, the farm staff receives a text update.

The sensors can pick up and report changes even before there are physical symptoms. The 24/7 monitoring may not be able to pinpoint the exact reason for bodily changes, but it can still help with earlier and more accurate detection of the onset of any illness.

Nearly 350 farms across two dozen countries are reportedly using this technology to monitor livestock. Over the last six years, the devices have been implanted in 15,000 cows in Britain. On its website, SmaXtec notes that covert measurement is safer and reduces the chances of losing a measurement device, too. The setup costs—$600 to set up the network and between $75 and $400 per cow—are incurred by the company or distributors. Farmers incur a monthly charge of $10 per cow for the service.

Learn more at this link