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Animal

V Bloch
H Levit
I Halachmi  

Monitoring individual cow feed intake is necessary for calculating the cow individual feed efficiency. The cost and maintenance time necessary for research systems make them impractical for most of the commercial producers. We developed a measurement system with producer convenience and low investment as key design criteria. The goal of this study was to design the system and validate its ability to rank cows by their feed conversion efficiency in commercial farms. The new system consisted of three principal parts: (a) a hanging weighing system, (b) a visual cow identification system and (c) an automatic cleaning system. The weighing system consisted of hanging a single load cell to provide feed mass measurements. The image-based cow identification system (replacing Radio-Frequency Identification) entailed cameras installed above the feeding area and an image processing algorithm that recognized cows by their collar numbers. The new system worked within normal farm routines: the feed supplying truck distributed the animal feed, and a tractor cleaned feed residual. To validate the accuracy and convenience of the system and to rank the cows by their efficiency, an experiment with six scales and 12 cows was conducted in a research barn, succeeded by eight-scale system in a commercial farm with 16 cows. The feed intake of each cow participating in the experiments was monitored for one month. The validation experiment showed that the system had the following specification: scales were accurate within 120 g; the visual cow identification rate was greater than 96%; feeding duration was accurate to 52 s; and routine farm practices (feed distribution, pushing, and residual removal) continued as usual. The cost for a feeding station (utilized consequently for a number of cows) was about 1 500 USD. An example of application of the system to rank cows by their efficiency under commercial conditions was shown. The system can potentially be used for ranking cows by their efficiency in commercial facilities.

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Design a system for measuring individual cow feed intake in commercial dairies

V Bloch
H Levit
I Halachmi  

Design a system for measuring individual cow feed intake in commercial dairies .

Monitoring individual cow feed intake is necessary for calculating the cow individual feed efficiency. The cost and maintenance time necessary for research systems make them impractical for most of the commercial producers. We developed a measurement system with producer convenience and low investment as key design criteria. The goal of this study was to design the system and validate its ability to rank cows by their feed conversion efficiency in commercial farms. The new system consisted of three principal parts: (a) a hanging weighing system, (b) a visual cow identification system and (c) an automatic cleaning system. The weighing system consisted of hanging a single load cell to provide feed mass measurements. The image-based cow identification system (replacing Radio-Frequency Identification) entailed cameras installed above the feeding area and an image processing algorithm that recognized cows by their collar numbers. The new system worked within normal farm routines: the feed supplying truck distributed the animal feed, and a tractor cleaned feed residual. To validate the accuracy and convenience of the system and to rank the cows by their efficiency, an experiment with six scales and 12 cows was conducted in a research barn, succeeded by eight-scale system in a commercial farm with 16 cows. The feed intake of each cow participating in the experiments was monitored for one month. The validation experiment showed that the system had the following specification: scales were accurate within 120 g; the visual cow identification rate was greater than 96%; feeding duration was accurate to 52 s; and routine farm practices (feed distribution, pushing, and residual removal) continued as usual. The cost for a feeding station (utilized consequently for a number of cows) was about 1 500 USD. An example of application of the system to rank cows by their efficiency under commercial conditions was shown. The system can potentially be used for ranking cows by their efficiency in commercial facilities.

Scientific Publication
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