Remote detection of calving

Scott Norman, David Swain, Michael Friend, Belinda King, Tonya Collop, Jaymie Loy, Jennifer Larsen

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No options for external application of a device were considered suitable. The variation in prototypes revolves around design and the mechanism of maintaining the device within the vagina. All devices will transmit signals every 15 minutes after expulsion at calving and will be utilised in combination with a current Taggle ear-tag to monitor behavioural and positional changes during the periparturient period. Follow-up work will require prototype development,assessment for effects on cow health and welfare, assessment of functionality, and assessment of behavioural parameters surrounding parturition for complementary monitoring. It is considered that in conjunction with behavioural algorithms, there will be a very high likelihood of successful outcome for a calf alert device.This project is the first phase of work required to develop a remote calving alert device. The purpose of a calving alert device is to assist future research into perinatal calf loss in extensive beef producing herds in northern Australia, where losses from maiden heifers in excess of 20%have been frequently recorded. The first stage of this project was a literature review to investigate; physiological and behavioural changes at parturition; pre-existing technology (for example the detection of oestrus) which may be adapted to the detection of calving; the risks associated with long-term application of intravaginal devices; and patents or commercial birth alert systems currently available. The second stage of the project was to liaise with Taggle PtyLtd, a company developing wireless location detection technology. This company currently hasan ear-tag product in development which can wirelessly transmit location and identification data.The purpose of this liaison was to determine the potential for adaptation of the current Taggleear-tag technology for further development into a calf alert device based on findings from Stage1.Results from Stage 1 identified a number of physiological and behavioural parameters which have potential for the remote detection of parturition.Two current commercial devices developed for species other than cattle were identified. One of these devices, utilised in deer, had only recently (April 2011) been released onto the market. This device is based on a cattle CIDR device, but has not been trialled in cattle. The other commercial device of relevance was designed for use in the mare. In addition, several patents for calving alert devices were identified.Only one of these patents was considered at a stage of development which could allow it to be rapidly progressed into a dependable and functional device.After discussions with Taggle and based on review of he literature, four prototypes for devices which could be used to remotely detect parturition are described. An outline is provided for further research along with an indicative budget which would be required to develop and assess these prototypes. All prototype options include a Taggle transmitter that can be fitted intravaginally. t
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherMeat and Livestock Australia
Number of pages113
ISBN (Print)9781741918878
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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