318 — A Hidden Markov Model to Estimate the Time Dairy Cows Spend in Feeder Based on Indoor Positioning Data
The times at which dairy cows choose to feed can often be an indicator of health or other metabolic changes; a hungry or undernourished cow is a sad cow, which is a statement that also applies to other animals including me.
When a domesticated inside-cow is positioned at a feeding trough, it’s almost certainly eating. So determining cow position and orientation is virtually adequate to determine how much a cow is eating. Using an Ubisense indoor positioning system, the authors looked at how much different dairy cow individuals ate from a feed bunk during a period of time.
Of the 50 dairy cows measured in this experimental freestall barn (a barn with stalls available for cows to voluntarily occupy), a Markov model was adequate to predict when a cow would choose to feed, with 97.6% accuracy.
Though it’s not feasible to install this positioning system technology in every barn, it’s an interesting study that enables us to reduce the complexity of the cow-feeding and cow-nutrition problem to a much simpler problem (by proxy of the Markov model).