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Drones used to check cows’ stress
November 25, 2017

Drone researchers have grounded the technology they use to collect data from the air to help solve production problems in dairies.

University of Melbourne agriculture and food researcher Sigfredo Fuentes says infra-red thermal cameras have been used in a stationary capacity in projects looking at stress in milking herds.

“We can install sensors on the cows to detect heat rate and breathing patterns but they are invasive and never stay in position,” he said.

“So we are trying to do the same thing using the drones but stationary — when the cows come to the robotic milker (at our Dookie campus) we can obtain all the biometrics then.”

Dr Fuentes said it was possible to detect body temperature and heart rates from measurements obtained by filming changes to nostrils and eyes with the technology.

“Changes in the luminosity of the eye section of the cow are really imperceptible to the human eye but we have algorithms to analyse those changes related to the rushing in and out of blood to the face,” he said.

“We are concentrating on pupil dilation in the cow and the white part of the eye to analyse stress.

“We can then try to develop models to predict different parameters.

“In milking, for example, we could predict volume of milk, protein content, fat content and any other interesting ­target.”

 

Source: The Weekly Times



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