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Application of accelerometers to record drinking behaviour of beef cattle

journal contribution
posted on 23.03.2020, 00:00 by LR Williams, GJ Bishop-Hurley, AE Anderson, David SwainDavid Swain
Accelerometers have been used to record many cattle postures and behaviours including standing, lying, walking, grazing and ruminating but not cattle drinking behaviour. This study explores whether neck-mounted triaxial accelerometers can identify drinking and whether head-neck position and activity can be used to record drinking. Over three consecutive days, data were collected from 12 yearling Brahman cattle each fitted with a collar containing an accelerometer. Each day the cattle were herded into a small yard containing a water trough and allowed 5 min to drink. Drinking, standing (head up), walking and standing (head down) were recorded. Examination of the accelerometer data showed that drinking events were characterised by a unique signature compared with the other behaviours. A linear mixed-effects model identified two variables that reflected differences in head-neck position and activity between drinking and the other behaviours: mean of the z- (front-to-back) axis and variance of the x- (vertical) axis (P < 0.05). Threshold values, derived from Kernel density plots, were applied to classify drinking from the other behaviours using these two variables. The method accurately classified drinking from standing (head up) with 100% accuracy, from walking with 92% accuracy and from standing (head down) with 79% accuracy. The study shows that accelerometers have the potential to record cattle drinking behaviour. Further development of a classification method for drinking is required to allow accelerometer-derived data to be used to improve our understanding of cattle drinking behaviour and ensure that their water intake needs are met. © 2019 CSIRO.

Funding

Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category

History

Volume

59

Issue

1

Start Page

122

End Page

132

Number of Pages

11

eISSN

1836-5787

ISSN

1836-0939

Publisher

CSIRO

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

17/08/2017

External Author Affiliations

CSIRO; Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia

Author Research Institute

Institute for Future Farming Systems

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Animal Production Science

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