With a lot of buzz in the industry, the Internet of Things, a.k.a, IoT, has successfully gained traction. Confused about what an IoT is? Don't be because you have been using it literally in your everyday life, and if not you, then definitely someone you know, for example, smartwatches, fitness devices, self-driving cars, smart microwaves, etc.
An IoT is a network of connected devices where the data and information are interlinked in a way you might not know!
Now that the concept of IoT is briefly cleared, let's see how it could become the fifth revolution in the dairy industry.
2018 has seen a fourth industrial revolution, which was a new step in the production, automatization, and computerization of the processes by using the data provided by the IoT devices. One might think this concept is only used in industries like health & fitness or electronics, but the revolution is no less in agro.
As per a study, in 2016, an agro-tech company received a massive amount of $3.2 billion investment. This provides enough evidence to show the growing graph of the need for digitalisation in every aspect of dairy farming.
Why is the need for smart dairy farming?
With the vastly growing industry, it has become the need of the hour to be up-to-date with the essential technology for the growing competition. To keep up with the healthy living of the livestock, it is essential to prevent any illness by diagnosing it at an earlier stage.
For 97% of the U.S. dairy farms, it is more than just their source of income and is a family-owned business. This also means that most of them have been into livestock farming for generations, but the business is not the same as decades before.
Smart dairy farming using IoT can become revolutionary solutions to improve farm capacity, reduce animal mortality and increase dairy output.
To meet the growing demand for dairy with the increasing population, especially in the developed countries, better tools and specialized equipment are required. IoT integrated smart-collars serve the purpose.
How does the smart collar work?
The smart collar is a complete IoT-enabled cattle management system with a physical product linked with a digital screen.
The cattle tracking device with an inbuilt GPS gives a real-time location of the cattle and sends the signals to the owners every quarter of an hour.
The collars get connected with the routers installed near the farming field, where they will get signals from.
The vital sensitive devices will be bridged to the collar strap, continuously providing reports over the software dashboard screen. As the belt is installed, the data gets transferred and stored in the form of graphs and charts.
What are the benefits of smart dairy farming using IoT?
Manual milking is a time-consuming process; instead, it also includes more staffing. IoT embedded smart collar belts can resolve the problem more efficiently with less manpower by introducing auto milking.
Since auto-milking is just a robotic system and is entirely automated, it is unaware of the temperature and any diseases affecting the cattle. The machine will yield all the cattle at the same time, the same way.
When we link IoT to the cattle, essential factors are looked upon, which otherwise can get ignored if done manually.
Temperature monitoring, disease tracking, and nutritional requirements are few, tracked down with a smart belt, and helps better quality milk production.
Tracking the heat cycle
Manually yielding milk to a cow that is not at its heat cycle would lead to low fertility. To continue the best quality milk, cattle must give birth to one calf a year to maintain the lactation period.
A lactating cattle undergo heat every 21-28 days but, is it possible to know that manually and that too accurately? It can be do-able but can take a lot of time.
The heat can stress down the cattle leading to lower milk production and, if yielded simultaneously, can further reduce the fat, protein, casein, and lactose content in milk.
To prevent such errors, smart collars would send alarms to the owner on its dashboard screen. It will notify when is the right time to yield, resulting in better milk production.
Tracking the movement with GPS
The tracking collars installed with the GPS will give real-time data allowing individuals to know the accurate information and location of the animals.
The smart collar works best in the field of around 5-10 cattle, as each of them will work as a personal tracker and give owners a whole valuable time to focus on one livestock full time.
Investing over manpower comparatively seems less costly at the start. Still, as time passes by, IoT for cattle becomes a sustainable option and can help your business grow bigger in no time.
Healthy eating leads to a healthier life. It works the same in all living entities on the planet. Many studies and experts say that "rumination in cattle is an indicator of health and performance"
The traditional method of visual analyses of ruminations was a process that required a workforce and was performed only when on the field. This is also limited to a particular population level; hence, the chances of errors increase.
What does one get to know about every cow's health quality by sitting idle at a comfortable place? The IoT-enabled software system will track individual cow's rumination data and will help producers to invite when one needs more attention.
Although visual observations can be trusted to access rumination activity in a cow, this method may not provide an accurate result when the challenge arrives to observe at a population level. It would hamper the health standards of the cattle.
Decrease mortality with security alerts
What if one needs to know how much grazing a cow did on that particular day? It can only be possible by manually observing it. Furthermore, how to analyse if the rumination is being done effectively?
Monitoring the changes and behaviors of the herd is one of the most significant and time-consuming tasks.
Using IoT devices, such as smart neck belts, it gets easier to monitor fishy cattle movements. The belt sends alarms any time it detects that something is "Off."
The sensors will be embedded in the neck strap around the cow's neck, which will help farmers personally supervise the cow's movement and respond accordingly.
Smart sensors will automatically gather and store the data and will help farmers prevent any growing health issues.
Control Disease Outbreaks
These speechless living are never going to deal with their health issues on their own. So whether or not there are any suspicious changes in their behavior, they are very likely to miss out upon some diseases.
The only way left to inspect the diseases is mostly by diagnosing yourself, which is almost certainly going to risk many other cattle lives too.
Lameness, foot and mouth disease, mastitis, and milk fever are some of the most common fatal diseases in cattle. These all can be avoided early and can save farmers from troublesome and financial crashes in the future.
The system will alert the farmer when it needs assistance with the help of an embedded smart vital monitoring device in the collar.
In the nutshell
In the world of "connecting everything," it not only connects the devices but information and data which can circulate within a span of milliseconds. So why not use the advantages of such devices when it comes to some unexpected outcomes?
Traditional methods of cattle farming are good enough. But, they might cripple milk quality and lead to a massive loss of cash flow if not looked upon. Cattle farming is not an easy job. It needs 24 hours of continuous monitoring and observations to have a successful income.
An IoT is a real-time data collection, precisely a replacement of manpower but a more refined version of it. By introducing the "smart cow" concept, the time and labor are reduced, and productivity increases.