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Theriogenology. 2019 Mar 1;130:19-25. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2019.02.038. [Epub ahead of print]

Evaluation of an ear-attached accelerometer for detecting estrus events in indoor housed dairy cows.

Author information

1
Clinical Unit for Herd Health Management in Ruminants, University Clinic for Ruminants, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, 1210, Vienna, Austria; Smartbow GmbH, Jutogasse 3, 4675, Weibern, Austria.
2
Clinical Unit for Herd Health Management in Ruminants, University Clinic for Ruminants, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, 1210, Vienna, Austria.
3
Smartbow GmbH, Jutogasse 3, 4675, Weibern, Austria.
4
Clinical Unit for Herd Health Management in Ruminants, University Clinic for Ruminants, Department for Farm Animals and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, 1210, Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: Marc.Drillich@vetmeduni.ac.at.

Abstract

Precision dairy farming technologies have tremendous potential to improve and support farmers in herd management decisions, particularly in reproductive management. Nowadays, estrus detection in cows is challenging and several supporting tools are available. In this study, a 3D-accelerometer integrated into an ear-tag (SMARTBOW, Smartbow GmbH, Weibern, Austria) was used for the detection of cows in estrus. Movement pattern based on accelerometer data were analyzed and processed by algorithms and machine learning, resulting in estrus alerts. For the evaluation of the system, reproductive performance data of 579 estrus events of multiparous cows were used to retrospectively evaluate the accuracy of estrus alerts generated by the accelerometer-based system and the overall performance of the system. Estrus events were classified as 'gold standard' events, if an estrus followed by AI resulted in pregnancy, and as 'recorded estrus' events, if two estrus events with an interval of 18-25 d were in the herd records, independent of whether estrus was followed by AI or pregnancy. In total, 316 'gold standard' events were matched with estrus alerts generated by the accelerometer-based system, resulting in a sensitivity of 97%. Furthermore, 263 'recorded estrus' events were compared with correct or incorrect estrus alerts by the system. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, accuracy, and error rate for 'recorded estrus' events were 97%, 98%, 96%, 94%, 96%, and 2%, respectively. In summary, the SMARTBOW system is suitable for an automated detection of estrus events of multiparous cows in indoor housed dairy cows.

KEYWORDS:

Accelerometer; Dairy cow; Estrus detection; Monitoring; Reproduction

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