Published On: Wed, Oct 3rd, 2012

Christian Oesch, Swiss cattle farmer, uses smartphones to track when cows are in heat

From the hillsides in Zollikofen, Switzerland comes a unique story of a cattle farmer, cellphones and bizarre text messages.

Agricultural Research Services

Christian Oesch tends to a herd of dairy cattle, each female donning a smartphone, so each cow can send him a special SMS.

Oesch, age 60, cares for 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows and is testing a device which uses sensors to alert the farmer that the bovine is in heat. The device sends an SMS to the farmer’s phone, available in several languages (German, French, Italian, English or Spanish.

The device is expected to come to market within a year as the electronic heat detector is proving highly successful.

“The results are combined, using algorithms, and if the cow is in heat an SMS is sent to the farmer,” said Claude Brielmann, a computer specialist who helped design the system. The detector on the cow’s neck is equipped with a SIM card so the farmer can pay for the calls.

“Our recognition rate is about 90 percent,” Mr. Brielmann said.

The device, known as a heat detector, raises concerns among animal rights advocates, not so much because of its intrusiveness in the private parts of the cow — its use involves inserting a thermometer with a tiny transmitter and antenna in the cow’s genitals — but because of what it says about the stressful lives of Swiss cows.

It also prompts skepticism among dairy farmers, who are startled by its cost, which is expected to be at least $1,400 per unit.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON


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