While precision agriculture is mainly targeted at the arable farm, livestock and mixed farms can still benefit from the big data era of farming.
Machine to machine technology and sensors allow a variety of information about livestock health and wellbeing to be conveyed to the farmer on an animal by animal basis.
In heifers, sensors attached to the tails can notify the farmer by text when the cow goes into labour, or when she is ready for insemination, saving time as well as ensuring higher survival and production rates.
Currently being trialled is a wireless sensor which sits in the cow’s stomach to monitor ruminal pH for the detection of diseases like SARA which can reduce milk yields by 3 litres per cow per day.
The sensor only becomes activated when the cow’s temperature rises above 31℃ indicating a change in pH, enabling immediate intervention.
An increase in production was noted in 60% of farms that trialled the technology. Milk production could potentially increase by 10%.