In animal husbandry, they say that to produce milk the cows must mate, but how much milk they produce depends on if they are mating at the right time. To ensure timely mating, cow estrus must be accurately monitored. However, traditional monitoring is inefficient. Some 65% of the cows will be in estrus anywhere from 9 pm to 4 am, and it is hard to find a pattern. The somewhat random mating time is hard to track, and it is hard to tell how long they will be in estrus for. Not being able to accurately track when the cows are in estrus greatly reduces yield. When a cow is in estrus, dairy farmers need to be notified immediately.
Most of the existing cow estrus monitoring systems rely on short-range communications technologies. These systems require base stations to be deployed on the ranch. The coverage is poor, the technology is expensive, and estrus data cannot be reported in a timely and accurate manner. Dairy farmers are in urgent need of a cost-effective network with massive connectivity, wide coverage, low power consumption, and stable performance to enable modern cow estrus detection. This makes NB-IoT a perfect fit for a modern cow estrus detection system.
NB-IoT Enables Connected Cow
The NB-IoT technology allows for a five-year terminal battery life, provides up to five kilometers of coverage, and allows for simultaneous data reporting by a massive number of terminals. NB-IoT can work in harsh outdoor environments to meet customers' requirements. The NB-IoT-based solution substitutes for multiple existing short-range communications technologies.
The cow-dedicated information collection terminals are developed using Huawei NB-IoT chips. The terminals can work by just hanging them from the cow's neck. No special network deployment is required at the dairy farms, which accelerates the spread of connected cows.
The NB-IoT-based Connected Cow Solution significantly increases the success rate of cow estrus detection and the revenue of dairy farms.
Huawei worked with China Telecom and Yinchuan Aotoso Information Technology Co., Ltd. (Aotoso) on the NB-IoT-based Connected Cow project. Aotoso provided cow-dedicated information collection terminals and the cow information management platform. Huawei provided the NB-IoT network and IoT platform for China Telecom, and supported integration of the devices and solutions. China Telecom, as a system integrator and service provider, offered services to dairy farms. By using the NB-IoT-based Connected Cow Solution, Aotoso increased the cow estrus detection rate from 75% to 95%.
For a dairy farm where each cow produces 30 kilograms of milk a day, if the milk sells for 3.6 RMB per kilo, and the estrous cycle is 21 days, then the dairy farm will earn 2,268 RMB per cow for one estrous cycle detected.