Welcome to the age
of the Connected Cow

We’ve all become use to the concept of humans sporting wearable tech, but what about the animals in the farmyard?

That’s the vision of a team of Entrepreneurs from a company called Smartbell, which has launched a wearable device for livestock that provides actionable and predictive analytics for farm planning.

While the vision of a Friesian sporting the latest wearable device might see amusing, the stakes are undoubtedly high. Jose Chitty, Smartbell’s head of operations, points out that lameness alone in cattle costs the UK dairy industry £210 million and that Smartbell aims to reduce this and make dairy farming profitable again.

Smartbell detects the stress and sicknesses that are symptoms of lameness and reduce milk yields (and often leads to death), and then notifies farmers that medical assistance is required before it becomes too serious. And the result of this early detection is no unnecessary loss of life and no loss of production. Farmers can usually treat the ailment themselves, thereby avoiding the costly vet fees that are likely to be incurred by later lameness detection, as well as the loss in milk production.

Such technology that provides continuous monitoring could extend beyond cattle and to other livestock. As Chitty explained: “As a technology platform it is incredibly flexible – can apply to many animals. Hopefully we’ll be able to detect oestrogen production that could assist rare cattle breeding, horse breeding. Plus there’s the opportunity for domestic animal monitoring – after all, who wouldn’t want to know what their cat gets up to at night?”

Image Credit: Via Flickr