• Evaluation of the RumiWatchSystem for measuring grazing behaviour of cows

      Werner, J.; Leso, L.; Umstatter, C.; Niederhauser, J.; Kennedy, Emer; Geoghegan, Anne; Shalloo, Laurence; Schick, M.; O’Brien, Bernadette; Science Foundation Ireland; et al. (Elsevier, 2017-08-24)
      Feeding behaviour is an important parameter of animal performance, health and welfare, as well as reflecting levels and quality of feed available. Previously, sensors were only used for measuring animal feeding behaviour in indoor housing systems. However, sensors such as the RumiWatchSystem can also monitor such behaviour continuously in pasture-based environments. Therefore, the aim of this study was to validate the RumiWatchSystem to record cow activity and feeding behaviour in a pasture-based system. The RumiWatchSystem was evaluated against visual observation across two different experiments. The time duration per hour at grazing, rumination, walking, standing and lying recorded by the RumiWatchSystem was compared to the visual observation data in Experiment 1. Concordance Correlation Coefficient (CCC) values of CCC = 0.96 for grazing, CCC = 0.99 for rumination, CCC = 1.00 for standing and lying and CCC = 0.92 for walking were obtained. The number of grazing and rumination bouts within one hour were also analysed resulting in Cohen‘s Kappa (κ) = 0.62 and κ = 0.86 for grazing and rumination bouts, respectively. Experiment 2 focused on the validation of grazing bites and rumination chews. The accordance between visual observation and automated measurement by the RumiWatchSystem was high with CCC = 0.78 and CCC = 0.94 for grazing bites and rumination chews, respectively. These results indicate that the RumiWatchSystem is a reliable sensor technology for observing cow activity and feeding behaviour in a pasture based milk production system, and may be used for research purposes in a grazing environment.