Ecow: nutrition and monitoring

Saturday 11th June 2016

GFIA (Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture) conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi in March 2017  is the largest agriculture event in the Middle East and last year was attended by over 4,500 people from 85 countries. This year, Professor Toby Mottram has been invited to speak about the projects that eCow is currently developing and how the technology has the potential to change the way we manage livestock for the better.

" It is nearly 5 years since I saw my first  bolus work for over 90 days and my invited paper at the NFSC reviews our field experience of using rumen pH telemetry and points out the directions for engineering development in the future.    We have now established reticulo-rumen pH of 5.8 as the threshold below which the cow should spend less than a small percentage of time.  My experience highlights two different uses of rumen pH data, one to correct an immediate nutritional problem  and the second to continuously monitor a  subset of cows to provide early warning of deviation from a planned management target.  Each method needs a slightly different approach to bolus design and data capture.   Rumen pH boluses have shown a real benefit to farm management and have a great future." says Professor Mottram.  

Last year eCow’s Founder and Chief Engineer, (left) Professor Toby Mottram participated in a focus group to develop new policy guidelines for research. On 13th January 2016 the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) published the results of this report, titled ‘A Vision and High-Level Strategy for UK Animal and Plant Health Research to 2020 and Beyond’.

Lead by the BBSRC and with aid from contributors from government, academia, industry and the third sector, the research strategy provided in the report aims to provide UK public research funders and policy makers with the framework within which to work together in partnership, and with wider stakeholders, to nurture the UK’s research capabilities in the field of animal and plant health and welfare. The report urges the need to build on the emerging internet of things (IoT) to establish a UK Animal and Plant Health Internet of Things (UK-APHIoT). This UK-APHIoT would encompass a web of flexibly interconnected sensors and data nodes, alongside data from wider sources and advanced approaches to data management and analysis.

One of the major objectives outlined in the report was the need for progression of technologies to enable early and automated detection of health risks in animal and plant populations. These views are shared by eCow, highlighted perfectly by VirtualVet, a new app for veterinary medicine recording.

VirtualVet aims to replace the old methods of recording medicine usage in a drug book with a simple to use App, available on any smartphone, that provides farmers and veterinarians an easy, hassle free way to meet their legal requirements to record medicine usage. This also has the benefit of automating the process of collecting large datasets of veterinary medicine usage. With this data available to the public it will allow disease trends to be easily tracked and areas of high antimicrobial drug usage to be investigated in attempts to minimise the increasing incidence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in pathogens.

A theme presented in the report focuses around systematic and accelerated breeding to allow and enhance the selection of genetic traits, especially disease and overall health resistance. Another project eCow has currently in development is an IoT enabled fertility monitoring system. Through enhanced fertility monitoring we can precisely predict ovulation cycles, speed up breeding, allowing for more efficient farming systems and greatly aid breeding for specific, desirable genetic traits. There is also the possibility to automatically monitor diseases in the process, further assisting maintenance of animal health.

eCow strongly backs the ideas behind this report and hopes the vision of a 21st century integrated, scalable infrastructure to catalyse the development of ‘next generation’ national research capability is realised. The themes within strongly agree with eCow’s design philosophy. Even our rumen pH bolus has the capability to be used as an IoT device, automatically providing data about the rumen health which could then be interpreted by algorithms that translate data into a diagnosis and prognosis of animal health. The UK-APHIoT is an incredibly powerful concept and one that agri-technology as a whole can benefit greatly from.

The full report here. Below: Herds courtesy: Google.

Custom Search

Scotland, Computer News in Scotland, Technology News in Scotland, Computing in Scotland, Web news in Scotland computers, Internet, Communications, advances in communications, communications in Scotland, Energy, Scottish energy, Materials, Biomedicine, Biomedicine in Scotland, articles in Biomedicine, Scottish business, business news in Scotland.

Website : beachshore