A tough labor for cows means an increased calf mortality and morbidity rate.
The recent journal article in Applied Animal Behaviour Science noted that up to half of first-calf Holstein cows in the U.S. require intervention from a farmer or veterinarian during labor.
Israel’s Afimilk developed the AfiAct II cow-monitoring system to combat calving difficulties, a condition called dystocia, and alert farmers to trouble before it’s too late.
“Monitoring cows for calving is very time-consuming and highly dependent on observers’ skills,” said Alon Arazi, doctor of veterinary medicine and a member of the Afimilk research team. “Automatic, continuous monitoring is more labor-efficient and allows for 24/7 control.”
AfiAct II is a leg-tag system programmed to issue notifications specifically for prolonged labor. Alerts are sent wirelessly from a leg-mounted sensor to a smartphone with calving begins and again if calving is prolonged.
The system can also detect other conditions based on activity and resting behavior, including estrus, abortion, cow discomfort, and illness.
The company also offers a product called the Silent Herdsman, which features a neck-mounted sensor that detects estrus, cyclic disorders, and illness based on cow activity, rumination, and eating patterns
Farm manager Edu Mesnik said his farm has experienced a dramatic reduction in calf mortality since installing the AfiAct II system last year.
“We now have good control over the calving process, and dead calves in the morning are a rare sight,” he said.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)