Developed by Kingshay and the Bristol Robotics Lab, UK farmers are trialling a new 3D scanning system that will help monitor herd welfare. International dairy cooperative, Arla, is trialling the Herdvision technology with the support of Morrisons. Elected board member, Arthur Fearnell, has praised the innovative technology:
“Identifying early signs of change can have a positive impact across the board, from overall cow wellbeing, to better milk production, a reduced need for medication and increased fertility rates.”
The scanner, which is positioned above the animal, assesses mobility and body condition, detecting changes like weight loss way before it would be apparent to the naked eye. The scanner does not require the cow to remain stationary either, which means that its behaviour remains authentic.
Cows naturally put best foot forward
According to Duncan Forbes, dairy research director at developer Kingshay, there is evidence to suggest that cows will behave differently to present themselves as healthy if they know they are being watched, which is what makes this new scanning technology so useful.
"It is ingrained primitive behaviour not to show weakness and even though cows have been domesticated for thousands of years, the mindset of best foot forward still seems prevalent in today’s animals. Overcoming that issue, and with artificial intelligence built in, this system will measure and identify changes to cow health based on each individual cow’s own health record.”
The Herdvision scanner is currently being trialled across ten Arla 360 farms in the UK, with data being collected over time used to determine the proven benefits of this technology.