ITI-CBM Programme: Condition based monitoring for dairy farming

The £4.75m 3-year ITI Techmedia Condition-Based Monitoring (CBM) Programme used sensors and network technology to develop a condition-based monitoring platform with applications across a range of industries.

The programme’s initial focus was on the commercial farming sector, where the technology platform developed was designed to enable behavioural and physiological monitoring of beef and dairy cattle. It allowed the animals’ condition to be continuously tracked with a view to improving the monitoring and predictions of health and fertility status.

A variety of novel analysis techniques were explored within the programme, to identify and capture key behavioural indicators from cows in on-farm studies. Drawing upon expertise in the management and analysis of large data volumes, EPCC provided specialist skills whilst working closely with groups at the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Agricultural College and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

EPCC developed the biological models and provided data analysis and sensory data mining for the CBM programme. Using a stripped down micro-controller with 700 bytes of free memory EPCC developed an automated workflow to capture and store the flood of collected data. The workflow system provided an easy way to transfer data originating at ITI research installations to EPCC, where it was then automatically analysed and archived. Our Advance Computing Facility provided a natural home for both the data and data analysis. This system became a cornerstone of the project.