Use of novel sensors combining local positioning and acceleration to measure feeding behavior differences associated with lameness in dairy cattle

Barker, Z.E., Vázquez Diosdado, J.A., Codling, E.A., Bell, N.J., Hodges, H.R., Croft, D.P. and Amory, J.R. (2018) Use of novel sensors combining local positioning and acceleration to measure feeding behavior differences associated with lameness in dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, 101 (7). pp. 6310-6321. ISSN 1525-3198

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Time constraints for dairy farmers are an important factor contributing to the under-detection of lameness, resulting in delayed or missed treatment of lame cows within many commercial dairy herds. Hence, a need exists for flexible and affordable cow-based sensor systems capable of monitoring behaviors such as time spent feeding, which may be affected by the onset of lameness. In this study a novel neck-mounted mobile sensor system that combines local positioning and activity (acceleration) was tested and validated on a commercial UK dairy farm. Position and activity data were collected over 5 consecutive days for 19 high-yield dairy cows (10 lame, 9 non-lame) that formed a subset of a larger (120 cow) management group housed in a freestall barn. A decision tree algorithm that included sensor-recorded position and accelerometer data was developed to classify a cow as doing 1 of 3 categories of behavior: (1) feeding, (2) not feeding, and (3) out of pen for milking. For each classified behavior the mean number of bouts, the mean bout duration, and the mean total duration across all bouts was determined on a daily basis, and also separately for the time periods in between milking (morning = 0630–1300 h; afternoon = 1430–2100 h; night = 2230–0500 h). A comparative analysis of the classified cow behaviors was undertaken using a Welch -test with Benjamini-t Hochberg post-hoc correction under the null hypothesis of no differences in the number or duration of behavioral bouts between the 2 test groups of lame and nonlame cows. Analysis showed that mean total daily feeding duration was significantly lower for lame cows compared with non-lame cows. Behavior was also affected by time of day with significantly lower mean total duration of feeding and higher total duration of nonfeeding in the afternoons for lame cows compared with nonlame cows. The results demonstrate how sensors that measure both position and acceleration are capable of detecting differences in feeding behavior that may be associated with lameness. Such behavioral differences could be used in the development of predictive algorithms for the prompt detection of lameness as part of a commercially viable automated behavioral monitoring system.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: local positioning, 3D accelerometer, lameness, feeding behavior, dairy cow
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Vazquez Diosdado, Jorge
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2018 12:09
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:43

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