A new system which automates mobility and body condition scoring using 3D imagery will bring significant benefits in terms of increased productivity, better welfare and labour savings.
“Mobility scoring and body condition scoring are important measures in dairy herds, closely linked to performance and welfare,” comments HerdVision Head of Sales Stuart Adams. “Currently the industry relies on subjective visual observation and human recording of these key health traits.
“The result is sub-optimal frequency and inconsistent assessment of cows, data collected in a form which is often difficult to interpret as an aid to management and the lost opportunity to intervene to correct problems more quickly. Measuring both indices continuously allows improved management, improving health, welfare and production.”
The HerdVision system automates collection of individual cow body condition and mobility using a robust camera system that can be fitted above any race, recording every cow that passes under it. Cows are identified by their existing EID tag meaning no additional wearable device is required.
The system’s unique algorithms identify and analyse key points and anatomical attributes of the cow that indicate the presence of lameness and the current body condition, identifying any changes.
The 3D images are used to calculate individual cow scores which are sent to a Cloud-based server. The results are then available to view on an easy-to-use PC dashboard, or on an App. Early warning alerts are sent to the App and data can be shared with third parties such as the vet or nutritionist.
Mr Adams explains that the system has been extensively benchmarked against manual assessment carried out by professional RoMS scorers with a high degree of consistency. He says the company is working closely with a number of organisations in the industry who see the benefits of the system.
“The HerdVision system has now been installed on dairy farms around the country and users are reporting significant benefits from automated, more frequent scoring. Early intervention to resolve issues means these farms have used 50% less antibiotics treating lame cows and have cut the time and cost spent treating lame cows by 20%.
“They have saved all the time previously spent recording and collating mobility data manually, releasing the time for other tasks on the farm.
“Addressing health and nutrition issues sooner has resulted in a 6% increase in milk sales and an 8% reduction in involuntary culling. For a 200-cow herd with an average incidence of lameness and required to record mobility four times a year, the benefits add up to over £11,000 per year.”
The HerdVision system price is based on a small capital investment and an annual license fee which covers an ‘in person’ whole herd mobility score, software upgrades and remote support. For more information visit http://herd.vision