New AI-powered instrument may revolutionise cow lameness detection

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A brand new AI-powered instrument has the potential to revolutionise cow lameness detection and therapy within the UK, in line with researchers.

The Hoof Monitor initiative is growing an AI-powered thermal imaging instrument able to figuring out lameness at its earliest stage, permitting speedier intervention.

The gadget may assist enhance cow welfare, cut back lameness-related financial losses and contribute to extra environmentally sustainable milk manufacturing.

Present strategies for monitoring lameness embody mobility scoring, accelerometer-based precision expertise and digital camera and AI-based visible gait evaluation.

Hoof Monitor is exclusive in utilizing thermal indicators of lameness. The instrument detects modifications in temperature in particular person legs and toes, enabling therapy earlier than the situation visibly impacts the cow.

This helps cut back each the price of therapy and manufacturing losses, in line with venture founder James Willcox, who runs Winson Agriculture.

In addition to having critical welfare implications, lameness prices the dairy trade £53m yearly, and is second solely to mastitis when it comes to its financial impression.

Mr Willcox mentioned: “Past the rapid welfare and financial advantages of treating lameness sooner, Hoof Monitor may contribute to a discount in manufacturing inefficiencies and related carbon emissions per litre of milk produced.”

His agency Winson Agriculture has teamed up with Agri-EPI Centre and software program firm Rhyze Softworks to develop a proof-of-concept Hoof Monitor gadget, supported by a grant from Innovate UK.

Fitted to analyse cows’ legs and toes as they stroll previous, the prototype is at present being examined and developed with the 200-strong herd at Agri-EPI’s Southwest Dairy Growth Centre in Somerset.

Agri-EPI’s head of dairy, Robert Morrison, mentioned the product was distinctive in that it used thermal imaging in lameness detection in a approach that, till now, had not been an inexpensive possibility on industrial farms.

He mentioned: “This new strategy permits us to detect will increase in leg temperature, indicating elevated blood stream – a transparent signal of an issue within the cow’s foot – in order that motion could be taken earlier.

“As a robotic system working 24/7, it has the potential to make detecting and treating lameness a lot faster than present strategies, which means its potential is impression very sturdy.”

The gadget will later be trialled on bigger industrial farms.


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