Optical sensors for measuring milk quality: implementation and validation on dairy farms
Due to the intensive interaction between the blood flow and milk production, the milk reflects the nutritional status and metabolic health of the dairy cow. Close monitoring of the milk composition and quality from individual cows requires an accurate on-farm sensor that performs non-destructive analyses at a low cost. Currently available commercial systems for milk analysis are not yet cost-effective or do not reach the required accuracy and robustness. Near-infrared spectroscopy is a promising technology that meets the requirements mentioned above and it was demonstrated in our previous projects that the obtained accuracies were well within the desired ranges. However, before this technology can be commercially valorized, both the hardware and software of the sensor prototypes need to be further improved, which would guarantee the long-term robustness and allow easy implementation and a wide applicability. Through this project, our cutting-edge technology will be ready for adoption by milk sensor companies to be implemented in milking systems and support detailed health and welfare monitoring of individual dairy cows.