Monitoring animal comfort with ear tags and microclimate sensors

Sun 24th Jan, 2021 Jakeline Romero Content Type: Good Practice

Automated monitoring of the body temperature and microclimate conditions of each animal in the cattle shed is an alternative method for ensuring animal comfort that avoids the use of medicine through early disease detection and helps farmers in their daily activities; this all has an impact on the animals’ health, welfare, and performance. 

  A biosensor ear tag and microclimate sensors were developed with the participation of the Institute of Animal Sciences at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW). They were tested on two cattle farms (beef and dairy cattle), one located in Chylice and the other in Kociszew (Mazovia region), Poland. The system consists of individual biosensors which measure animal movement and ear temperature, several microclimate sensors for measuring temperature and humidity in the cattle shed, a data transmitter and receiver located in the pasture and indoors, and software which processes all the data from each animal. The microclimate sensors can be installed in any type of room. The e-stado system is dedicated to detecting heat time and estimating individual insemination time, feeding (feed intake and rumination time), summer heat stress, and calving monitoring as well.

Heat time detection screen and e-stado biosensor on the ear

The time needed to implement this system on a farm can be as little as one day; there is no need to engage any service staff, as farmers can do it themselves. The cooperation between experts and the farmer in the development process was one of the key aspects related to the success of this innovation. Taking the first step in using the technology is up to the owner. The equipment is inexpensive and the ear tag can be reused in another animal after slaughter.  

Impact on:

Reduced costs
Better management of individual comfort and early disease detection
High animal performance
Reduction of antimicrobials use

Source of information:

  • Good practice provided by the Network Manager from Poland (Marcin Golebiewski)


Further information:

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José Pais
17 Posts
Sat 15th May, 2021

The use of sensors that monitor animal activity in different areas of intervention by the producer is undoubtedly one of the factors, perhaps one of the two most important, that will help producers to face the challenges that lie ahead in the future.

One of the difficulties in using this technology on farms that practice 100% extensive production systems (herds of calves) is the communication of the sensors with the database file due to the movement of the animals and the distance between the animal and the antenna.

The use of satellite data communication can be a solution that will help to overcome this constraint. The Ceres Tag Pty Ltd. company from australia, developed this type of technology, which is described below.

Conventional livestock ear tags use radio frequency identification (RFID) to allow farmers to identify animals to monitor weight and undertake basic husbandry. Ceres Tag enhances existing technology by providing direct to satellite enabled geolocation, with accelerometer and temperature analytic capabilities.

The proprietary smart ear tag provides real-time data collection and on- and off-farm data analytics through a data platform. This supports collection of detailed provenance information, more productive operational management, improved detection of stolen livestock, and greater insight into animal welfare and health.

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