Vision-based technology allows the possibility to improve a stockpersons ability to monitor livestock and enhance our understanding of animal needs and their wellbeing.

About

Automated image analysis techniques have developed that allow continuous monitoring of animals during the day and night. Such continuous monitoring is not possible for a stockperson, and given the challenges of finding skilled labour and the expectation that each stockperson will care for more animals, technology that can support a stockperson are increasingly more important.

We have shown that computer models using camera surveillance equipment can be trained to identify objects and classify activities such as animal behaviours e.g. standing, lying, walking or even giving birth. Furthermore, changes in behaviour leading up to a birth event can provide an indication for the need for assistance. We propose to use our computer vision images of dairy cows and sheep giving birth to produce a camera alert system to help farmers monitor calving and lambing throughout the day. This would improve animal survival and labour demands at this critical stage of production.

Key Benefits

The beneficial aspects of this innovation are:
1. Enhanced animal wellbeing for mother and offspring
2. Support for stockperson and potential need to assist animal
3. Low cost technology
4. Software works with existing camera surveillance at farm
5. Technology can be applied to various tasks

Applications

The vision-based software can be used not only for farm animal monitoring tasks but also other animal species and management operations. The model can be trained to identify and detect different objects and trained for different categories of interest. Image banks are increasingly more available and free for training computer vision models. Farming operations are in need of technology to support labour and decision making, where technology can enhance what is currently done.

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