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Internet of Cows: How Moocall’s IoT Can Save 160,000 Animals’ Lives During Calving

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Vodafone’s IoT network powers Moocall’s sensors for farmers, saving cows and calves during the season and making land more productive

The Internet of Things (IoT) could reduce the mortality rate of calves and cows during birthing by up to 80 percent, according to Moocall, the developer of a calving sensor.

Moocall’s ‘palm-sized’ sensors are described as “non invasive” and are attached to the cow’s tail. They measure specific movements of the tail triggered by labour contractions to accurately predict the onset of calving.

This data is relayed via Vodafone’s IoT network to farmers’ smartphones as an audible alert when contractions reach a certain level of intensity and an associated mobile application is used to manage multiple sensors.

smart cowbell

Internet of Cows

The idea is that farmers will be able to monitor how long a particular cow has been calving so they know whether they should intervene or call for a vet.

Not only will this save animals’ lives, it will allow farmers to make their land more productive. Moocall says a replacement cow can cost between £1,000 and £2,000, a figure which rises to £5,000 for a pedigree breed.

Moocall says more than 110,000 calves and 50,000 cows die each year during the calving season, which has just started.

“Moocall is proven to help farmers ensure the safe delivery of a calf while maintaining the wellbeing of the cow,” explained John Larkin, technology manager at Moocall. “It also allows farmers to get some much needed rest, safe in the knowledge they will receive an alert at crucial calving moments rather than having to be on permanent watch.

“Our global IoT platform allows Moocall to remotely manage and monitor every one of its sensors used by farmers, whether they are in the UK or in Australia,” added Ivo Rook, Vodafone’s IoT director. “Together with Moocall, we are pleased to prove how the internet of things can help save the lives of calves.”

Vodafone has been a strong supporter of cellular-based IoT connectivity and had been one of the leading champions for the Narrowband IoT (Nb-IoT) standard. It now has more than 50 million M2M connections and claims the figure is growing at a rate of 1 million each month.

It has previously worked with the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews to attach marine telemetry tags to seals in Orkney. These tags return data on their location, dive behaviour and oceanic environment back to researchers.

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