New device allows cows to alert farmers when they are ill

Holstein Friesian cow. Photo: Wikipedia
Farmers can now get updates on the health of their cows via text messages through smart sensors which can be placed within a cow's stomach.

Austrian start-up SmaXtec has come out with a smart device to monitor livestock, reported Bloomberg. The report described the device as a sensor about the size of a hot dog, which would be inserted into a cow’s throat and get lodged in the rumen, the first of a cow’s four stomachs. After being inserted successfully, the device, which has a battery that lasts four years, would transmit up-to-the-minute data such as the pH of the cow's stomach, temperature, how much the cow moves, and the amount of water the cow has consumed. All the information transmitted by the device would then be uploaded to the cloud.

Further, SmaXtec's sensors are also capable of predicting when a cow will give birth with 95 per cent accuracy, allowing farmers to plan the cow's pregnancies in a manner which maximises milk production. If the cow is about to fall ill, the system e-mails the veterinarian days before the cow is visibly sick.

SmaXtec's devices have been implanted in 15,000 cows so far and 350 farms in almost two dozen countries are using its technology. 

The report added that the company or its distributors will typically foot the upfront costs of deploying the gear and building the network, which come to about $600 for the network and between $75 to $400 per cow. After the system is in place, they charge the farmer around $10 a month per cow for the service.

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