The Next Frontier: Monitoring Behavior at the Individual Level in Group Housed Cattle Using Smart Barn Technologies December 14, 2022 “Smart systems come with a promise that they will help farmers make better decisions, make production more efficient — and all this data can help to improve animal welfare.” Dr. Borbala Foris In this webinar from VES-Artex Academy, Dr. Borbala Foris explores the power of smart barn technologies and how farmers and researchers are weighing how these innovations can be used to measure cow welfare. One such indicator of animal wellness cited by Dr. Foris is the use of brushes by individual cows. How does this correlate to welfare? Dr. Foris shares various studies which may draw a direct connection between brush use and stress on cows. A few factors that affect the amount of brush use in cows include: Group Size Feed Availability Weather Cows living in smaller groups, as well as cows with better access to feed and in more cow comfortable temperatures, tend to show less stress and greater brush use. Although this research is still in its early phases, there does seem to be a definite connection to many smart barn technologies potentially being used to measure the health and well-being of animals. This technology may have been developed for another purpose but it’s showing promising potential for this innovative scientific application. Although no single technology may provide a perfect measure, as a whole, the technologies are revealing definite behavior patterns. Improving the herds’ welfare is good for everyone; after all, a healthier, happier cow is a more productive cow. There are many technological advancements in the modern smart barn that are giving researchers insight into herd well-being. Be sure to watch this webinar from Dr. Borbala Foris for detailed information.