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RESEARCHERS USE CAMERAS TO STUDY THE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN COWS

Data from sensors, showing the position of the cows, in combination with a video stream taken by cameras installed in the barn, are used to study the behavior of dairy cattle.

In a pilot study, at one of Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences research barns, Keni Ren and her colleagues show that a combination of sensors and cameras gives a really good picture of what is going on among the cows in the barn.

“Data from cameras add a whole new dimension to social behavioral studies,” says Keni Ren who recently defended her doctoral thesis at Umeå University. The method of using cameras as a complement to real-time locating sensors was investigating with a focus on the social interactions between cows gathering around the feeding table, for example when younger individuals are introduced to an existing herd.

Through machine learning it is possible to analyze a large amount of videos and this gives many clues about the social interactions in the context of the time-series information.