A systematic review of machine learning techniques for cattle identification: Datasets, methods and future directions

Md Ekramul Hossain, Ashad Kabir, Lihong Zheng, Dave Swain, Shawn McGrath, Jonathan Medway

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
375 Downloads (Pure)


Increased biosecurity and food safety requirements may increase demand for efficient traceability and identification systems of livestock in the supply chain. The advanced technologies of machine learning and computer vision have been applied in precision livestock management, including critical disease detection, vaccination, production management, tracking, and health monitoring. This paper offers a systematic literature review (SLR) of vision-based cattle identification. More specifically, this SLR is to identify and analyse the research related to cattle identification using Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL). This study retrieved 731 studies from four online scholarly databases. Fifty-five articles were subsequently selected and investigated in depth. For the two main applications of cattle detection and cattle identification, all the ML based papers only solve cattle identification problems. However, both detection and identification problems were studied in the DL based papers. Based on our survey report, the most used ML models for cattle identification were support vector machine (SVM), k-nearest neighbour (KNN), and artificial neural network (ANN). Convolutional neural network (CNN), residual network (ResNet), Inception, You Only Look Once (YOLO), and Faster R-CNN were popular DL models in the selected papers. Among these papers, the most distinguishing features were the muzzle prints and coat patterns of cattle. Local binary pattern (LBP), speeded up robust features (SURF), scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT), and Inception or CNN were identified as the most used feature extraction methods. This paper details important factors to consider when choosing a technique or method. We also identified major challenges in cattle identification. There are few publicly available datasets, and the quality of those datasets are affected by the wild environment and movement while collecting data. The processing time is a critical factor for a real-time cattle identification system. Finally, a recommendation is given that more publicly available benchmark datasets will improve research progress in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-155
Number of pages18
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Agriculture
Early online date18 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Grant Number

  • 103328


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