Precision agriculture comes to beef sector

Using technology to keep an electronic eye on the herd promises to pay production dividends for cattle producers


By Michael Robin, The Western Producer (CAN)

April 29, 2021


It turns out you can tell a lot about cows, if you watch them very, very closely.


“When they’re on heat, they position themselves differently,” said Jack Behan, chief executive officer of AlphaPhenomics. “So you can say there is a correlation between the positioning and the onset of estrus and ovulation; very important when you’re a livestock producer.”


But catching these small changes in a cow’s behaviour and physical state are often beyond the capabilities of even the most experienced cattle person.


AlphaPhenomics, a technology startup based in Edmonton, uses multispectral cameras and laser point cloud mapping to catch different data. The laser creates a detailed 3D image of the animal, infrared captures changes in body temperature, and microwave records very small movements of the tail or changes in body position.


“Put them all together and you have a very strong correlation, in real time, of the moment of ovulation,” Behan said...