It used to be that animal farmers had to take their cows to the vet or invite the vet over to ascertain what exactly is wrong with the animal, but technology has found a way around that with a cow text message.
To enable the cow text message, one Australian startup, SmaXtec, is placing connected sensors in cows’ stomachs to transmit health data over wifi. Basically, the sensors will track data about the temperature of the cow, the pH of the cows’ stomach, movement of the cow, and activity. It will also identify when the animal is in heat.
No more will animal farmers be hindered by an inability to tell what is wrong with their cows until visible signs of illness appear. With the sensors, changes will be reported even before physical symptoms appear.
The SmaXtec startup’s device can also predict if a cow is pregnant with almost 95% accuracy. This will let farmers take adequate advantage of things like increased milk production which occur before calving.
As changes are monitored, a cow text message will be sent to the farm hands. SmaXtec sensor will have about four years battery life and Bloomberg reports that the sensor will be inserted into the first of four stomachs through a cow’s throat using a metal rod. The sensor will then reside in the cows’ rumen.
SmaXtec cofounder Stefan Rosenkranz told Bloomberg that “It’s easier, after all, to look at the situation from inside the cow than in the lab.”
Although the 24/7 monitoring of the cow cannot provide an accurate diagnosis for the bodily changes, it will help with earlier and more accurate detection of the onset of any illness.
Currently, about 350 farms across two dozen countries are reportedly using this technology to monitor their livestock. SmaXtec notes, on their website, that covert measurement is safer and reduces the chances of misplacing a measurement device.
With the Economist pegging global cattle population at 1.4 billion, the brains behind SmaXtec may have struck gold with their sensors. Bloomberg wrote that it costs $600 to set up the network and a cost of between $75 and $400 per cow are incurred by the company or distributors. Then farmers incur a monthly charge of $10 per cow for the service.