Sensors on the Farm: How They Manage Daily Tasks

Technology has been making large strides within the last few years, especially on farms. From self-driving tractors to robotic milkers, these tools have taken over many of the daily tasks that farmers have to complete between sunrise and sunset.

Dairy One now offers two new products that can tackle small daily tasks that have a big impact on farms. The first is RealmFive, a series of sensors that can monitor many common systems. The second is CattleEye, an artificial intelligence camera, that can score cows for locomotion problems. Read on for how these products will help with making farms run more efficiently.

Monitor Levels of Farm Products

Driving around a farm there are many things that need to be monitored on it. From manure pits to feed bins, water levels, motors, and pumps. Products running out, storage running over, or equipment not working can have a serious impact on daily operations. That’s where RealmFive comes into play for farmers.

This technology has a series of different sensors that can be mounted in places across the farm to help detect possible problems. The sensors connect to RealmFive’s platform and farmers can program their own alerts for each one to custom levels. Types of sensors available include:

  • Weather: This sensor is a solar-powered weather station that can record wind speed, direction & gust, rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity.
  • Container Level (Ex: Bin, Whey, Stock & Slurry Tanks): Mounted on the bin this one monitors levels to help manage inventories.
  • State Monitor (Ex: Pump, Motors & Fans): Attachable to barn fans, pumps, motors, grain drying fans, and generator sets, these sensors monitor the current state and send out alerts if motors are not running or running too much.
  • Barn Water Usage: Mounted on water pipes, farmers can receive data on water consumption, and notify of abnormalities.
  • Barn Temperature: Set up in cow barns, this device can track the temperature and humidity where cows spend most of their day. This data can help improve herd health through barn environment alerts.
  • Manure Lagoon Level: Uses a float to track lagoon levels and provide proactive level alerts along with consistent recordkeeping for manure inventory.
  • Dry Feed Bin Inventory: Mounted in dry feed bays, this sensor will monitor the levels of these products to ensure that there won’t be missing ingredients for the next feeding.

All of this information can be viewed and managed in RealmFive’s online portal, or any phone or tablet. While it can be a task assigned to employees to monitor these different areas of the farm, using technology instead will help compile information in one place.

Improve Locomotion Scoring Protocols

Locomotion scoring is a task that is time-consuming and objective depending on the employee. Quite often it is a skill where employees train one another. This task has significant variation between people and their observations. It’s also a task that might fall by the wayside when there are many other jobs to complete each day. But when a cow’s locomotion becomes painful that can lead to more serious issues and a decrease in milk production.

Using technology in this instance provides one objective way of scoring a cow, not four or five different scores based on four or five different employees. Typically mounted in an area where cows are returning from the parlor, the CattleEye camera uses artificial intelligence to scan cows and assign them a score based on their gait. If the score is outside of normal parameters, then the cow is flagged within the software as needing attention such as a visit from the hoof trimmer.

While farms may have a person observing cows as they leave the milking parlor to note any lameness issues, CattleEye will not only record these problems but also upload them to its app or a farm’s herd management software. That way a cow has all of her data in one place. In addition, herd managers, farm owners, and employees can review this information to see the lameness issue, and not rely on reports from others.

Having one piece of technology recording, tracking, and reporting on locomotion scoring helps dairy farmers check one more thing from their ever-growing checklist.

For more information about either of these products, contact Dairy One’s Integrated Farming Solutions team by emailing [email protected] or texting 607-257-1272.