A new intelligent ear tag that uses the movement of a cow’s ear to determine their health, heat status, feeding behaviour and location is set to revolutionise the way farmers manage their herds.
SMARTBOW® from Zoetis is one of the most accurate and comprehensive cow activity monitors to hit the market. Unlike other activity monitors, which tend to focus solely on heat detection and cow behaviour, SMARTBOW can tell if an animal is eating, resting, on heat or ruminating as well as their real-time location in a shed.
The ear tag is lightweight, small and rugged and includes an acceleration sensor. Receivers mounted in the cowshed forward data to a local server where it is analysed using specially formulated algorithms, individual to each cow on the farm. Over time, the system learns the individual cows’ behaviour patterns, meaning it can provide more individual alerts.
SMARTBOW alerts farmers in real-time via their PC, tablet and smartphone when cow activity changes. This means, regardless of herd size, farmers have an understanding of what each animal is up to.
Farmers are alerted when a cow is on heat, as their normal daily rhythm changes and they have increased activity and less rumination. This allows them to optimise insemination results by accurately serving cows, reducing insemination costs and calving intervals.
SMARTBOW monitors the motion of the ears which indicates rumination length and highlights early any health problems such as ketosis, helping reduce veterinary and cull costs and increase a herd’s health status.
In addition, the ear tag provides real time localisation for cows, meaning no more searching for cows, their location can be seen live on a smart phone or tablet.
Dairy farmer Peter Dettendorfer who milks 80 cows in Germany says SMARTBOW has helped improve profitability on his farm. He said: “My calving interval became shorter thanks to accurate heat detection. I have compared a lot of technologies, but no other solution gives me as much important data. The ear-tag is also re-usable.”
Zoetis National Veterinary Manager Dave Armstrong added: “SMARTBOW is aiding in the early detection of sick animals, often long before they start to show obvious clinical signs. With our technology — ear tags, real-time positioning and artificial intelligence — regardless of herd size farmers know exactly where their cows are and what they are doing. The ear tags can detect if the animal is on heat, improving fertility efficiencies on farm or is showing reduced health, leading to faster observation and earlier chance of return to full productivity. This can help reduce veterinary costs and reduce cull rates.”
To find out how SMARTBOW can benefit your farm, contact Zoetis customer services on 0845 300 8034.