Swiss company Anemon is testing sensor technology that alerts farmers via text message when a cow is in heat, enabling them to better time the expensive insemination process.
We recently covered the Kenyan iCow SMS service and now comes word of a like-minded innovation from Switzerland. Focusing this time on cows’ fertility cycles, Anemon is testing sensor technology that alerts farmers via text message when a cow is in heat, enabling them to better time the expensive insemination process. Amid increasing pressure to boost milk production rates, Swiss cows are showing fewer signs of heat than they used to, according to a New York times report, making it ever more difficult for farmers to know when to attempt insemination. That’s where Anemon comes in, with a system to track cows’ fertility electronically. First, a removable wireless temperature sensor is placed in the cow’s vagina. Then, a waterproof transmitter is attached to her collar, complete with SIM card, a radio frequency transmitter/receiver, a microcontroller and a GSM/GPRS module. Also included is an accelerometer to measure the cow’s activity. By combining its measurements of temperature and activity, the Anemon system is 90 percent accurate at detecting a cow’s heat – an 11 percent improvement over traditional methods, the company says – and it sends the farmer a text message when that happens. Anemon also reportedly achieves a 15 percent increase in the conception rate to 95 percent. All data, meanwhile, is accessible to the farmer via the Aneweb server. Pricing is expected to be at least USD 1,400 per unit, according to the Times, but ROI can be achieved in 480 days, Anemon says. Agricultural entrepreneurs around the globe: one to get involved with? Spotted by: Murray Orange