New technology helps Arizona cows stay healthy, track exercise and eating patterns – Arizona's Family

Science & Technology

GILA BEND, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – A dairy farm doesn’t look like a Planet Fitness health club, but that doesn’t mean cows don’t care about their well-being.
Exercise and eating right play critical roles in keeping the farm animals healthy and producing good quality milk. That’s where some unique necklaces come in. These necklaces are health monitoring devices that cows wear to track how many steps they take and how well they eat, sleep and breathe. Arizona Dairy Company owner Denton Ross said it’s a “Fit Bit” for cows. “A lot of us wear watches that tell us how many steps we have taken,” said Ross. “They track our calories, what we are eating. This is basically what we are doing with cows. It’s just a better way to manage cows.”
Owner Denton Ross says the health monitoring system has made a huge difference in keeping cows in shape and has kept the quality milk flowing. All in all, the Arizona Dairy Company produces about 30,000 gallons of milk a day. More than 4,000 Ross’ Gila Bend dairy farm cows are now wearing the devices. It’s the latest technology Arizona farms use to cut costs and stay competitive.
Veterinarian Michelle Schack said one of the challenges dairy farms have faced over the years is recognizing unhealthy cows before their milk production drops. The necklaces allow farmers to immediately identify cows walking or eating less, indicating they may have a health problem. “A healthy animal is going to be comfortable, relaxed and is going to make more milk and better quality milk,” said Schack.
“Cows‚ like many animals, won’t show signs of sickness right away. They may feel a little off, but acting normal and walking around, you wouldn’t notice by looking at her. But if she feels a little off, her activity will decrease a lot,” Schack. “Knowing these indications through health monitoring tools, we can identify cows sooner, and give them extra supportive care to hopefully prevent them from being sick.”
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