Bovine detection grid
One must milk the investors while you can. The bovine have already been optimized for that purpose. Next up, sheep to herd the masses.
Irish computer vision and AI agriculture specialist Cainthus hopes to raise $50m after launching a facial recognition tool for cows. The Dublin-based startup, which is backed by global agri-giant Cargill, is on the lookout for more funding to expand the use of its automation technology in the farming industry, CEO Aidan …
Hmm. Cows wander round with unique ear tags, also activity monitoring collars with connectivity and may even have a passive tag in an ear for the parlour feeder to identify them. Has this project really been necessary? However with all these backups you can easily see how well it's working.
Maybe they are just convenient targets, there are plenty of example available but such as deer (wild or farmed) or even badgers, but non-farmed species are the better choice.
I'll get my coat, the calves need feeding and the food mixing for the girls won't happen on its own.
"However with all these backups you can easily see how well it's working."
Maybe the unstated reasoning is for a larger scale trial to refine and improve the technology, in a more diverse range of environments than the (likely) single farm they developed their system on, while also providing a source of revenue for them?
Your mention of wild animals suggests one potential future development - Hook it up to cameras on a fleet of remotely operated vehicles to track individuals and herds on larger estates and farms where the livestock are free to roam hills, forests and moors rather than fields - and maybe even in future UAVs to track them from above (although obviously in that case you'd need a very high definition camera or fly very low).
Ear tags and chips can be removed, however, if your system can recognise a cow visually that could be useful to prove it was yours before it was rustled.
On the other hand I don't even know enough about this subject for a half-decent pun, so I'll just moosey along now.
No, these tags cannot be removed because then you cannot sell the animal to be slaughtered. The whole life cycle of the animals have to be tracked. Remember Mad Cow Disease?
This new technology is interesting for roaming animals but as you can’t control the dispense of food for individual animals it is of limited use. As a test bed it is interesting because you can automatically check if all of the animals are identified correctly.
For thousands of years, stock farmers kept their animals in open fields and monitored them by going into the fields and looking at them (or sending their herdsmen to do so). There are vast numbers of reminiscences even from quite recently that refer to cows getting named and treated almost like pets through familiarity, which is actually good for the cows and the farmers as both are social animals. The intrusion of "technology" is eliminating the humanity and reducing the effort expended, probably without any significant improvement in animal welfare or productivity.
I personally feel that "laptop farming" from an office while sensors and software do all the monitoring and robots do all the feeding and milking is unlikely in the long run to prove itself, primarily because dealing effectively with living things doesn't follow consistent logical rules. However IT, and particularly AI (in the IT sense) are the "steam" or "electricity" of the current culture. In the 19th century these were widely assumed to be capable of solving every societal problem. They weren't - they solved some and created others.
It's a con, once more to enrich VCs and increase debt. The cost of these trinkets, like automated milking parlours is astronomical. It's OK if you're an investor in a giant farm with 1000 milkers and you only want to employ one herdsman.
What none of them [ML] spot are the tiny changes in behaviour or appearance that someone who spends time with the herd will notice as indicators of impending mastitis or lameness for example. What they will show you is a cow with hot teat[s] that already has an infection.
Farmers like so many others can be seduced by headline figures, "ooh, look, you can get x litres/cow/year with this feed/technology/whatever" but what's the cost per litre of production!? Holsteins are notoriously lame and require lots of feed, Angus not so much. Look at the TCO and you'd never go for automated Holstein milking.
You may have one herdsman, but you'll have someone in on a regular basis to come and fix the robots. Nothing like a message telling you at 1 am that the milk filter on Robot #3 needs attention.
Dairy cows like their contact with their people, beef cattle have left contact and therefore are a little more antisocial.
Angus? No you mean Ayrshires, and don't forget Shorthorns - they do better on supplemented grazing rather than Formula-1 Holsteins.
Automated milking sheds allow the cows to come in and be milked on their time table, not the farmers. Over the last century or more there has been a massive increase in the milk production per animal via selective breeding, but the animals are still only milked on the old schedule of twice a day. This means for the last hour or two the cows' udders are distended with milk and girls are really "busting to go".
With automated milking the cows can wander in when they feel like it and be much more comfortable as a result. An Australian documentary I saw claimed that herds in automated sheds had an average of 15% greater milk production per animal with one individual achieving a 25% milk increase.
>>>" Hmm. Cows wander round with unique ear tags, also activity monitoring collars with connectivity and may even have a passive tag in an ear for the parlour feeder to identify them. Has this project really been necessary?"
It sounds like just a few cameras with facial recognition could replace most of the stuff you've listed above.
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Every cow, heifer, bullock, bull etc has to have an ear tag. Unlike contactless cash cards and replacing barcodes on supermarket products*, the RFID is perfect technology for cattle, far far more reliable than so called AI facial recognition.
[* Those do have value if done securely and if product RFID has a unique serial number instead of a receipt for proof of purchase. Return to ANY branch and no doubt if stolen, fraud etc, if it's made secure.]
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