FitBits for Cows: Our New SenseHub Dairy Activity Monitors

FitBits for Cows: Our New SenseHub Dairy Activity Monitors

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Our cows got some new bling! The SenseHub Dairy activity monitors give our dairy team real-time updates and measurements, helping them to track both cow and herd health as closely as possible. 

The dairy team uses the monitors to record the herd’s daily movements across Wolfe’s Neck’s pastures, track their dairy production, notify best breeding time for each cow, monitor their digestion, and observe overall health measurements like respiration. 

How Do They work?

The activity monitor stores its own info and when the herd moves in range of a transmitter, the antenna will download that data and send it to a computer which lives in the dairy barn. That data is then visually displayed onto a computer monitor, showcasing what is happening to the cows in real time. 

There is even an app connected to the monitors, so that our dairy manager, Ben Gotschall, can check on the cows anytime, anywhere. 

Tracking Dairy Production

The monitors are now fully integrated with our milking system. So, when the cows are being milked, the monitors can track what cow is being milked in which parlor, how long it takes to milk them, the amount of milk they are producing, and even tell the dairy team if any of the milk is abnormal and needs to be tossed out.

Recording Activity

The monitors can notify our dairy team when they have high activity levels. These high activity levels can sometimes mean that the cow is ready to be bred, helping the dairy team to ensure the best time for breeding. Similarly, the system may send a signal to the dairy if a cow has had severely low activity levels, potentially meaning the cow has been laying down a lot more and could be injured.

Monitoring Digestion

These monitors can track each cow’s digestion, notifying the dairy manager and his team if the cows are not ruminating properly. Rumination is when cows chew their food, swallow it, and then partially digest it in their first two stomachs. Then, they throw it up, chew it again, and swallow it to finish the digest process in their last two stomachs. If something is wrong with the rumination of the herd, it could point to a larger digestion issue with their food intake. Without these monitors, it could take the dairy team a lot longer to realize something wrong is happening.

With these new monitors, the dairy team can be a lot more efficient in tracking the cows’ health and improve their management. The dairy team has especially found these monitors to better support the breeding of our cows, helping us to grow our herd here at Wolfe’s Neck Center. Furthermore, by tracking our herd’s health, these monitors and their data can double their impact by not just supporting dairy management but also contributing to all the research happening at Wolfe’s Neck Center, such as the B3 project, and beyond. 

The dairy team is so excited to learn even more about our herds from these monitors!

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