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Animal ID Changes How You See Cattle
Using a new type of artificial intelligence for animals, a Canadian company can identify every animal in a 1,000-cow herd and continuously gather data on their health and activities.
“Our algorithms have a higher level of accuracy than human facial recognition,” says Mokah Shmigelsky about BETSY (Bovine Expert Tracking and Surveillance System). “We look at a lot more points on the animal’s body than human systems do.”
While cell phone facial ID uses 125 features on the human face, BETSY uses 512 features on the animal’s face alone, right down to its cowlicks and color patterns. In addition, the cameras are looking at other areas, including the knees, tail frame and joints, at a speed of 30 frames per second. This allows BETSY to identify animals from almost any angle and even at a distance.
Mobile cameras, which can be repositioned as needed, send images to BETSY via Wi-Fi for instant data analysis. BETSY’s cameras (4 to 6 cameras for 1,000 head) are constantly scanning visible animals. Visuals are identified and animals monitored by the platform whenever in view of a camera.
“Comparing gathered data allows BETSY to pick out a lame animal or other conditions faster than the trained human eye”, says Shmigelsky.
In addition to health and welfare, BETSY also tracks growth optimization, nutrition and activity. Once a problem or other event such as calving is identified, BETSY notifies the rancher or herdsman by text and email.
BETSY maintains an ongoing surveillance of each animal, building its own historical record. Everything it is doing, from running and walking to eating, drinking and heat detection, is recorded. It will even track calf activity to ensure nursing, including the first feeding of colostrum.
Over time, the data gathered by BETSY will help owners evaluate herd improvement strategies. Each animal’s data, whether current status or historical, can be accessed instantly from the system’s internet portal via smartphone or other device.
“We had BETSY running at 20 Beta sites across Canada,” says Shmigelsky. “We had it on 14 cattle operations and 6 that were a mix of horse, elk and sheep operations.”
Plans are to launch the system commercially later in the year.
“There is no need to understand the technology,” says Shmigelsky. “Just plug it in and start using the data. As new features come online, the software will be automatically updated.”
While much of the initial work has been done on beef and dairy herds, the company is also working with sheep and other species. Sheep present a special challenge because you have to identify the same animal with and without fleece.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, OneCup AI, 244-1231 Pacific Blvd., Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6Z 0E2 (ph 866-238-7924; info@onecup.ai; www.onecup.ai).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #4