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Artificial Intelligence – For Cows?

Artificial Intelligence
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
11:45 am


Technology has come a long way since my time time growing up on a small dairy farm in Idaho. A recent AP News article asks: “Is the world ready for cows armed with artificial intelligence?

Answering its own question, the article observes:

No time to ruminate on that because the moment has arrived, thanks to a Dutch company that has married two technologies — motion sensors and AI — with the aim of bringing the barnyard into the 21st century.

The Dutch company, Connecterra  offers a system, “The Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant (IDA),” to monitor individual cows and predict how to deal with problems that may arise.

IDA uses a motion-sensing device attached to a cow’s neck to transmit its movements to a program driven by AI. The sensor data, when aligned repeatedly with real-world behavior, eventually allows IDA to tell from data alone when a cow is chewing cud, lying down, walking, drinking or eating.

Those indicators can predict whether a particular cow is ill, has become less productive, or is ready to breed — alerting the farmer to changes in behavior that might otherwise be easily missed.

Back in the day, my Dad knew each of his cows well, and called each of them by name.  However, modern dairies may have thousands of cows, not just a few dozen we had on our farm. Technology like IDA can really extend the ability of a dairy farmer to maximize production from all of the cows.

It does my heart good to see AI and IoT technologies applied to boost agribusiness.

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