Jan. 16 2020 01:16 PM

Making farmer’s lives easier, augmented reality provides hands-free access to data.

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

Activity monitoring systems (AMS) have provided useful cow and herd data. But, where does dairy technology go from there? What’s on the horizon with farm data? Augmented reality (AR) is not far off and will soon give you the ability to bring data to life, literally.

Nedap Augmented Reality brings data collected by Nedap activity monitors to life. It enables farmers to use mixed-reality goggles to see data displayed in a virtual ear tag when they look at a cow, creating a seamless animal monitoring experience.

“Imagine walking through a cow pen looking for cow #134. As if you’ve entered “Cow #134” into a GPS, a small arrow will point you to her specific location and a screen pops up above her,” says Roxie Muller, Nedap innovation manager. “Her health, heat and fertility statistics show up. Now imagine making decisions and immediately implementing them verbally or at the touch of your finger.”

Herd insights and cow data come to life through Augmented Reality goggles. While it might feel like you’re in a real-life video game, these goggles overlay cow insights seamlessly in your field of vision. This gives you access to data where and when it’s needed – out in the freestall barn.

“If cow #134 is ready to be bred, simply push a virtual button and she’ll be added to the list of other cows that need to be bred,” says Muller. “Then, you turn your head to look at another cow, and go through the same pattern. AR is a hands-free, personal-assistant that helps you manage your herd better by bringing data to life.”

The best part? AR is simple to implement and use. AR is already used in many sectors, including medical and manufacturing, because it offers an easy way to visualize complex details in real-time, eliminating errors and boosting productivity.[1] The dairy industry is no exception.

Getting ready for AR is easier than you think

For years, AMS technology has helped boost heat detection, conception rates, cow health and labor efficiency. AR leverages AMS data to bring those invaluable cow and herd insights to life.

So, if you use AMS with cow locating beacons, you may already have what you need to implement AR on your farm. After upgrading to the AR service the mixed reality goggles can bring your farm’s insights to life.

"It’s hard to imagine today’s dairy farms without advanced technologies," says Muller. "Yet, the technology also has to be farmer-friendly. We believe the combination of AMS and AR are just that."

An internal Wi-Fi network will help make the AMS and AR experience most seamless. With an AR-ready AMS, cow beacons and Wi-Fi, you’re ready to make AR a reality on your farm.

AR delivers dairy industry benefits

“We’re developing this technology because we see the potential it offers dairy farmers,” says Muller. “Whenever you’re innovating something new, you expect scepticism. But we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response. When farmers try on the goggles for the first time, they immediately see the benefit of being able to visualize relevant cow insights in real-time.”

AR also serves as a personal assistant. It allows you to record data and assign treatment protocols using verbal commands or hand gestures. There’s no need to manually input data after a long day in the barn – data is input via voice or hand motion while you’re walking through pens.

Finally, AR can be used to find a cow you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. An arrow will appear in your field of vision and lead you to a cow’s exact location in the barn, saving time.

For more information about preparing your farm for augmented reality, visit nedap.com/dairyfarming or contact Rudy Ebbekink at rudy.ebbekink@nedap.com.

Nedap Livestock Management is the global leader in farming automation using individual animal identification. For more than 40 years, Nedap strengthens dairy farmers through the most reliable and innovative cow identification, monitoring and automation solutions. They empower managers and personnel with dependable information to make operational and strategic decisions and help dairies become more efficient, productive and successful.

For Nedap, trust and reliability in both partnership and technology are key. Leading international dairy farming companies, including genetics and milking equipment suppliers, partner with Nedap to include its technology in their systems. A publicly listed company, Nedap employs more than 700 people globally, across 11 locations and seven business units.