Classification of behaviour in housed dairy cows using an accelerometer-based activity monitoring system
Vázquez Diosdado, JA
Croft, Darren P
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Background Advances in bio-telemetry technology have made it possible to automatically monitor and classify behavioural activities in many animals, including domesticated species such as dairy cows. Automated behavioural classification has the potential to improve health and welfare monitoring processes as part of a Precision Livestock Farming approach. Recent studies have used accelerometers and pedometers to classify behavioural activities in dairy cows, but such approaches often cannot discriminate accurately between biologically important behaviours such as feeding, lying and standing or transition events between lying and standing. In this study we develop a decision-tree algorithm that uses tri-axial accelerometer data from a neck-mounted sensor to both classify biologically important behaviour in dairy cows and to detect transition events between lying and standing. Results Data were collected from six dairy cows that were monitored continuously for 36 h. Direct visual observations of each cow were used to validate the algorithm. Results show that the decision-tree algorithm is able to accurately classify three types of biologically relevant behaviours: lying (77.42 % sensitivity, 98.63 % precision), standing (88.00 % sensitivity, 55.00 % precision), and feeding (98.78 % sensitivity, 93.10 % precision). Transitions between standing and lying were also detected accurately with an average sensitivity of 96.45 % and an average precision of 87.50 %. The sensitivity and precision of the decision-tree algorithm matches the performance of more computationally intensive algorithms such as hidden Markov models and support vector machines. Conclusions Biologically important behavioural activities in housed dairy cows can be classified accurately using a simple decision-tree algorithm applied to data collected from a neck-mounted tri-axial accelerometer. The algorithm could form part of a real-time behavioural monitoring system in order to automatically detect dairy cow health and welfare status.
Colin Spedding Memorial Research Studentship awarded by The Farm Animal Welfare Trust.
Copyright © 2015 Vázquez Diosdado et al.
This article has been published Open Access and is available at http://www.animalbiotelemetry.com/content/3/1/15/abstract# .
Published: 10 June 2015