How is Wearable Technology Improving Food Quality?

These days, the future of the wearable industry is a hot topic.  While, the future of fitness trackers and wearables is no longer solely focused on human consumers, many farmers are using wearable technology for monitoring all types of livestock.

During a recent trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada, to visit a close friend and 2nd year veternary student at Atlantic Veternary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), my mind began “churning” around the impact wearables are having on the cattle industry.

During our sightseeing drives around the island, my friend Jourdan McPhetridge educated me on the many aspects of the livestock industry in Canada, a course-long topic during her 1st year of veterinary school.

The cattle industry is heavily regulated by the government, so it is vital to optimize production, either for beef or dairy cattle. She explained how monitoring livestock using wearable technology, and the health of the cattle (HR, white blood count, digestive issues, temperature, gestation, pH levels) impacts the human population, poor health equals low quality product.  A healthier bovine means less need for antibiotics and other medicines, so often used for sick cattle. While, better technology often means growth and sustainability for the farming community here in PEI and globally, the impact technology can have is improving the quality of products so many of us consume yearly.

PE Island houses many dairy and cattle farms, one farm in particular that I had the chance to tour, was Crasdale Farms. This farm in particular is predominately robotic milking farm, with award-winning livestock honors, operated by husband and wife team, Brian and Amber Craswell. The Crasdale Farms, operates using a milking system that collects individual cow data on milk production and cow health. The automated process alerts the Craswell and staff to any changes, allowing them to devote their attention to the other cows that require the most attention.

The Crasdell Farms houses a barn with a robotic controlled stall that allows the bovine access to walk in, a milking robot monitors the health of the utters and rinses them from debris, while using laser guidance to locate and attach the robotic milking system to the utter for individual bovine management.  The system is linked to other wearable technology to monitor other vital signs of the herd, thus improving the individual animals and production of healthier product for consumption and lower the cost of unnecessary vet visits and better dairy products.

Like many dairy and cattle farmers around the globe, the wearable industry is not a totally new concept for the farming industry and there are several leading companies who have designed wearable technology to assist farmers in maximizing yield, and improving the health of the livestock.

4 Global brands of wearables used by farmers world-wide: (Based on my research)

  1. Tekvet– “The TekVet Health Monitoring System can immediately identify a rise in temperature that is associated with many common illnesses, allowing the livestock operator to perform early, and more successful, treatment. The earlier an illness is treated, the more effective the treatment will be, thereby reducing livestock loss.”–Tekvet.com
  2. Vital Herds e-pill– “Core temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, stomach contraction rate, long-term ph level, volatile fatty acid and lactic acid monitoring for individual base-lining and fundamentally better, data driven, individual animal management.”–Vitalherd.com
  3. Lely Qwes– “24/7 insights about your cows, with true insight into your cows’ health prevents diseases and loss of production. The Lely Qwes cow-recognition system measures the most vital data per cow every two hours. There are tags for various aspects, such as identification, checking whether the cow is in heat and rumination.”–Lely.com
  4. Cattle Watch- “Increasing yield by 10-20% and saving operational cost with a scalable system, Collecting behavior information of each cattle (Grazing, Walking, Laying, in-heat, Pregnancy, illness, bull efficiency, Calves’ delivery, calves’ conditions , location / tracing /Theft and illness early warning, ) reporting the behavior information to the farmer’s PC and Mobile, counting heads as well Theft and Hostility, illness early warning – real time Monitoring of Bulls and bovine efficiency and overall health.”–Cattle-Watch

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