Computerised cow collar helps monitor behaviour

Computerised cow collars which detect changes in cow behaviour and could improve herd management are now being supplied through a partnership between National Milk records and Embedded Technology Solutions, a spin-out company of the University of Strathclyde.

Silent Herdsman continuously monitors cow activity detecting changes in behaviour related to fertility which enables producers to improve herd management, leading to better herd health and productivity.

And the global financial benefit associated with monitoring cow behaviour to perfect timing of fertilisation is estimated at about $2bn per annum in lost milk volume.

Annette MacDougall, chief executive, ETS, said: “Our core technology represents a compelling platform for heat detection in dairy cattle that can scale well beyond the competition in terms of performance, accuracy and overall predictability of animal behaviour.

“We are pleased to have signed a strategic partnership with NMR for the UK market as we set forth to realise the benefits of the collaborative research and development programme initiated by Scottish Enterprise. NMR is ‘best in class’ within the industry and represents the best partner of choice in our go-to-market strategy for the UK.”

ETS developed Silent Herdsman using ground-breaking technology funded by a £4.75m Scottish Enterprise research and development programme. Lena Wilson, chief executive, Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are delighted that following on from the successful commercialisation of the technology, ETS has secured its first deal to take Silent Herdsman out to market.”

The technology which was developed by Professor Ivan Andonovic and colleagues at the University of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Engineering is hoped to increase accuracy levels and bring significant advances to fertility monitoring on dairy farms, said NMR managing director Andy Warne.

“Movement technology has advanced considerably and, at the same time, heat detection is becoming far more challenging. Priced competitively, we are confident that the system will be attractive to many progressive producers in Britain. And looking ahead, we are keen to see the technology develop, linking in with our current software systems and being applied to other important management functions.”

• To see other new livestock products click here.