The new DeLaval body condition monitoring camera was a two-star winner in the Innov’Space 2015 innovation awards at the recent Space agricultural show in France.
This 3D camera positioned at the exit of a milking parlour or robot is designed to measure the body condition of dairy cows, to help the farmer to better manage his herd.
It performs a topographical measurement of the back of the animal. The image is analysed with DeLaval BCS software to determine the amount of fat covering the loin, rump, tailhead, hooks, pins and short ribs. From this analysis, the system can accurately calculate the body condition score of the cow, in the one to five range.
Body condition scoring is a critical measure of cow feeding. If you know the body condition score, you can plan feeding to ensure cows have adequate body fat reserves, which promotes milk production, reproductive efficiency and cow longevity.
Body condition scoring can be more accurate than weighing. Body weight varies a lot with feed and water intake, if the cow has dunged, or was just been milked.
Traditionally, body condition scoring is done by looking at a cow and feeling it. This can lead to inaccuracies, particularly in a crowded shed.
The new DeLaval camera automatically measures the body condition score of every cow on the move in the shed.
DeLaval software can convert the results into a graph or report for viewing on the farm computer — for individual cows, groups, or the herd — which the farmer can compare with other data, on feed, reproduction, and productivity of cows.
The BSC camera is less stressful for cows, and saves time, compared to manual scoring. The scores can be easily shared with vets and nutritionists.
With regular updates of body condition scores, you can plan and optimise feeding to ensure your cows have the ideal body condition for the current stage in their lactation cycle.
Consistent and accurate scores provide early warning if a cow deviates from the ideal body condition score curve.
Regular score updates can be used to ensure cows have the ideal condition at insemination and calving.
The right body condition throughout the pregnancy can eliminate calving and post calving problems, while ensuring calves have an ideal start to life.
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