Facial Recognition For Cows

A herd of dairy cows pretty much looks the same. But like humans, each one has unique facial and body features that allow technology to track their movements and behaviors.

Cargill is teaming up with a start-up company in Ireland to bring facial recognition technology to the dairy barn, and eventually other animal species. David Hunt is the CEO of Dublin-based Cainthus. He says their barn cameras and sensors record each animal pixel-by-pixel, and the information is sent to the farmer’s smart device.

"We work out what gesture the animal is displaying, and then we codify that gesture so we know whether it’s eating, drinking, sorting, getting aggressive," says Hunt. "Every visual data stamp gets broken down into a statement of ‘cow X did Y’ for a set amount of seconds, where Y might be feeding, drinking, and whatever other gestures we’ve trained the system on."

Hunt says the system allows the producer to work out feed and water intake per individual animal as it correlates to their milk output.

"Which animals are your most efficient feeders, which is very useful on a longer-term perspective. In terms of immediate alerts if the animals do not have access to food, we can send the farmer an alert to tell him to go feed them," he says. "When an individual animal is off their feed or when you’ve got a new feed mix that may not be palatable to the animals and sending an alert the minute you see the feed rejection at pen or full barn level."

Learn more about livestock facial recognition technology

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