Liquid milk processor Arla UK is trialling 3D imaging technology on dairy cows providing the milk for its Morrisons supermarket supply chain. It says the trial will help improve cow welfare by detecting changes in wellbeing, mobility and weight before they are visible to the human eye.

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The Herdvision 3D system has been developed by the Kingshay dairy consultancy working in partnership with AgsenZe and the University of the West of England’s Bristol Robotics Lab. It uses visual monitoring, data recording and automated intelligence to replace more subjective human observations.

The Herdvision scanner is being trialled on ten Arla UK 360 farms. If successful, Arla says such automation of body condition, mobility and herd health monitoring could provide an important component of its Arla’s Happy Cow measure where technology brings physical and behavioural metrics into one overall animal wellbeing standard.

“Our customers care about animal welfare, so to know that these trials can improve the well-being of the animals supplying their milk is reassuring,” says Sophie Throup, senior agriculture manager at Morrisons.

Graham Wilkinson, agricultural director at Arla Foods adds: “Arla farmers are already in tune with the wellbeing of their cows, but digital advances in farming bring the opportunity to revolutionise cow health management. The Herdvision technology could be a gamechanger in automating the measurement of the physical components to create the Happy Cow measure.”