Bovine Bling

Why did the farmer fit his cow with a pedometer? To see how much it’s moooving. BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today presenter Caz Graeme couldn’t resist milking a few bad jokes in the interview with farmer Richard that was broadcast this morning. The cows have been sporting ankle bracelets containing pedometers since 2008 but the technology is still quite unusual so Caz came along to the farm to find out more.

A microchip in the bracelet stores up information about a cow’s movement. If she starts putting in the steps she’s in heat and ready for insemination (we don’t have a bull on the farm). The data is uploaded when the cow’s ankle passes a scanner at milking time. Cows exhibit this heat behaviour at night, and since farmer Richard doesn’t get up until 4.00am to milk, the technology bypasses the need for midnight inspections of the herd.

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