If you already think fitness trackers are only for humans, think again. As it turns out, activity tracking has a host of benefits for livestock too. This week at Mobile World Congress, Japanese tech giant Fujitsu pulled the curtain back on a range of fitness trackers for cattle, which are designed specifically to help farmers increase efficiency around breeding and birthing processes. The Estrus Detection System for Cattle (EDSC), as its called, aims to determine exactly when female cows are biologically primed for artificial insemination.
Fujitsu’s EDSC system is comprised of two main parts: a wearable cattle pedometer, and one stationary receiver that processes tracked data. Female cows walk up to six times as much as regular activity rates when they are in estrus, or “in heat”, according to Fujitsu. By tracking spikes in activity, particularly at night, farmers can determine precisely when a cow is going into the estrus phase. The EDSC system is expected to raise farms’ successful insemination rate to about 65 percent, compared to the 30 percent average success rate when farmers inspect cows by hand every day.
Thanks to the system’s high precision rate, Fujitsu also expects that farmers will be able to take considered steps to ensure either male or female calves, depending on the farm’s requirements at the time. Female offspring are more likely to result from insemination within the first four hours of the estrus phase, while male offspring are statistically more likely from insemination within the last four hours of estrus.
In addition to artificial cattle insemination schedules and decisions about the sex of calves, the system can be used to predict due dates and monitor delivery. Fujitsu demonstrated the full EDSC system at MWC this week. Each cow werable is priced at $150, while the stationary receiver that integrates the data system costs $3,000. EDSC is currently being piloted on farms in Japan and Europe, and it looks like Fujitsu has their sights set on US for future versions of the system.