Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station ART, CH-8356 Ettenhausen

Automatic Measurement of Jaw Movements in Ruminants by Means of a Pressure Sensor

Ruminant activity is considered an important non-invasive measurable parameter for the early identification of metabolic problems in ruminants. Traditional rumination sensors have drawbacks, particularly when used in the cowshed area. The newly developed ART rumination sensor incorporates a noseband sensor comprising a fluid-filled tube and pressure sensor, a data logger, and the evaluation software. The data are transmitted to the PC via a USB interface. The R-based software allocates individual jaw movements to ‘rumination‘, ‘eating‘ and ‘other activities’ on the basis of learned data. Validation has shown that the equipment works reliably, and that visual and automatic evaluation are extremely consistent with one another. The ART rumination sensor is suitable for research and advisory purposes. It will need to go through further stages of development – already in progress – before becoming widely used in practice.

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