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A decision-tree model to detect post-calving diseases based on rumination, activity, milk yield, BW and voluntary visits to the milking robot

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Early detection of post-calving health problems is critical for dairy operations. Separating sick cows from the herd is important, especially in robotic-milking dairy farms, where searching for a sick cow can disturb the other cows' routine. The objectives of this study were to develop and apply a behaviour- and performance-based health-detection model to post-calving cows in a robotic-milking dairy farm, with the aim of detecting sick cows based on available commercial sensors. The study was conducted in an Israeli robotic-milking dairy farm with 250 Israeli-Holstein cows. All cows were equipped with rumination- and neck-activity sensors. Milk yield, visits to the milking robot and BW were recorded in the milking robot. A decision-tree model was developed on a calibration data set (historical data of the 10 months before the study) and was validated on the new data set. The decision model generated a probability of being sick for each cow. The model was applied once a week just before the veterinarian performed the weekly routine post-calving health check. The veterinarian's diagnosis served as a binary reference for the model (healthy-sick). The overall accuracy of the model was 78%, with a specificity of 87% and a sensitivity of 69%, suggesting its practical value.
Journal: Animal
ISSN: 1751-7311
Issue: 9
Volume: 10
Pages: 1493 - 1500
Publication year:2016
BOF-publication weight:3
CSS-citation score:2
Authors from:Higher Education