Changes in behavioral and physiological parameters around estrus in partially synchronized cows
The objective of this study was to compare estrus detection potential of cow behavioral and physiological parameters collected by multiple precision dairy farming technologies. Technologies included the SensOor (Agis Automatisering, Harmelen, Netherlands), DVM bolus (DVM Systems, LLC, Greeley, CO), HR Tag (SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel), IceQube (IceRobotics Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland), and Track a Cow (Animart Inc., Beaver Dam, WI and ENGS, Rosh Pina, Israel). Ovulation was synchronized for 35 cows in 3 groups between January and June 2013 at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Dairy using a modified G7G/Ovsynch ending after the last PGF2α injection (Day 0) to allow estrus expression. Visual observation of cows for 4, 30-minute periods at 0330, 1000, 0230, and 2200 on Days 2, 3, 4, and 5 confirmed estrus by recording when cows stood to be mounted. Eighteen of the 35 cows stood to be mounted at least once during the observation period and were used for analysis. The GLM procedure of SAS (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC) was used to compare differences between the 24-hour period surrounding the standing event (estrus) and the week preceding that period (non-estrus) for all technology parameters. Significant differences (P < 0.05) between estrus and non-estrus were observed for the following parameters (reported as estrus vs. non-estrus ± SE): SensOor minutes ruminating/h (16.02 vs. 22.68 ± 0.84), SensOor minutes feeding/h (14.48 vs. 8.86 ± 0.94), SensOor minutes of high activity/h (13.66 vs. 4.18 ± 0.79), HR Tag minutes ruminating/2 h (22.30 vs. 28.67 ± 1.40), HR Tag activity units/2 h (49.10 vs. 26.74 ± 2.19), IceQube lying bouts/h (0.47 vs. 0.70 ± 0.06), IceQube total motion units/h (912.38 vs. 316.82 ± 59.82), IceQube steps/h (224.41 vs. 84.53 ± 14.09), IceQube minutes lying/h (16.35 vs. 24.12 ± 1.19), and Track a Cow activity units/h (197.07 vs. 78.19 ± 26.29). No significant differences between estrus and non-estrus were observed for SensOor mean temperature/h, DVM bolus twice-daily temperature, and Track a Cow lying percent/h. This data demonstrates that multiple measureable parameters may be useful for detecting estrus events.
Keywords: precision dairy farming technologies, estrus detection