Fullwood has launched a new pedometer-based fertility monitoring system to help with cow heat detection.

The Vitality programme has been developed by Fullwood’s in-house engineers and can be used to spot underlying conditions such as cystic ovaries, embryonic losses and non-cycling cows.

It offers two levels of animal observation and identification – the basic version is a standalone activity monitoring and heat detection system, while the more expensive kit also enables electronic identification of individual cows for milking or out-of-parlour feeding purposes. 

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Both versions of the new Vitality system link to Fullwood’s Crystal herd management software and use a 3D accelerometer housed within a leg-mounted tag. The data collected by the pedometers includes overall activity based on the number of steps taken, number of “at rest” periods and total “at rest” time. 

Vitality Fulwood

© Claire Wood

Each tag has up to 400m line-of-sight wireless range, which best suits indoor herds where lactating cows spend 100% of their time within the capture radius of the hub. However, each tag can also store data for up to 48 hours for outdoor grazing herds.

Unlike other systems, which might only capture activity data twice or three times a day, (for example when the cow enters the milking parlour) Fullwood says its new pedometer provides updates throughout the day and night to give herdsmen a more accurate picture of each cow’s fertility status.

The kits include 10 tags, 10 straps, 12 strap locking mechanisms and a strap cutting tool, along with a wireless hub that can communicate with up to 250 pedometers. For grazing-based systems, or for yards where cows are housed out of range of the base hub, the company also offers additional antennae.