Why automatically detect calving with video surveillance?
As mentioned above, calving are risky periods when it is necessary to combine increased surveillance of the animals concerned while keeping your distance so as not to disturb them. What are the tools available to meet this double challenge?
Video surveillance, an alternative to sensors
Some calving detection methods are widespread, such as sensors, which are based on measuring the cow’s physiological changes in relation to the expulsion of the calf (vaginal temperature, tail position) or on abdominal muscle contractions. If the majority of these sensors have demonstrated their effectiveness, the fact remains that they entail increasingly heavy constraints for breeders and technicians:
During the expulsion of the calf, sensors may be lost. If some are found intact, others are unusable after being trampled by the cow.
There has to be one sensor per animal. The loss of some of them before or during calving increases the bill sometimes dramatically, in particular for farms practicing group calving.
Sensors based on measuring tail movements can become unhooked and therefore rapidly unnecessary.
In the case of vaginal probes, their application requires a strict hygiene protocol and involves health risks for the cow.
- Logistics and maintenance:
To work in an optimal way, sensors require an installation which can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming. Setting and reloading requirements mean additional work for breeders.
For their implementation, all these tools therefore require a physical manipulation of the cow before the supposed date of calving.
The current trend favors non-invasive equipment and video surveillance has the advantage of providing remote monitoring with no required handling. The fact remains that rigorous daily monitoring is essential to ensure the smooth running of births.