UK – Arla UK 360 farmers, part of Arla Foods’ farming standards programme will trial 3D imagery systems to monitor the cow wellbeing by using data recording and artificial intelligence.

The technology will enable farmers identify changes in each cow’s physical wellbeing, mobility and weight, before they are visible to the human eye.

Called Herdvision, the system provides a more reliable way of monitoring cow welfare by removing measurements that currently have to be made subjectively by the human eye.

It was developed by Kingshay in collaboration with the Centre for Machine Vision in the Bristol Robotics Lab at the University of the West of England and AgsenZe.

The programme has received support from Morrisons which earlier this year joined the Arla UK 360 farm standards program for sustainable practices across its entire supply chain.

“Arla farmers are already in tune with the wellbeing of their cows, but digital advances in farming bring the opportunity to revolutionise cow health management,” said Graham Wilkinson, Agricultural Director of Arla Foods.

“When we launched Arla UK 360 we set out a vision to bring together physical and behavioural wellbeing monitoring to create the Happy Cow measure.

“The Herdvision technology could be a gamechanger in automating the measurement of the physical components to deliver this.”

As opposed to other scanning technologies on the market, the new Herdvision technology is easier to use and gives much greater accuracy in the results i.e. it doesn’t require the cow to stand still.

It allows automation of monitoring for body conditioning, mobility and herd health, complementing Arla’s Happy Cow measure which aims to use technology to bring together physical and behavioural wellbeing metrics into one overall picture of animal wellbeing.

The Herdvision scanner is being trialled on ten Arla UK 360 farms, looking to measure and identify changes to cow health based on each individual cow’s own health record.

“Technology and innovations opening up further improvements in the health and welfare of livestock are exciting,” said Sophie Throup, Senior Agriculture Manager at Morrisons.

“Having organised trials for these tools to help Arla UK 360 farmers enhance their already leading standards is encouraging and a further demonstration of why we wanted to adopt the 360 standards in full for the farms who supply us.

“Our customers care about animal welfare, so to know that these trials can improve the well-being of the animals supplying their milk is reassuring.”