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In Journal of dairy science

In this study, we developed a calving prediction model based on continuous measurements of ventral tail base skin temperature (ST) with supervised machine learning and evaluated the predictive ability of the model in 2 dairy farms with distinct cattle management practices. The ST data were collected at 2- or 10-min intervals from 105 and 33 pregnant cattle (mean ± standard deviation: 2.2 ± 1.8 parities) reared in farms A (freestall barn, in a temperate climate) and B (tiestall barn, in a subarctic climate), respectively. After extracting maximum hourly ST, the change in values was expressed as residual ST (rST = actual hourly ST - mean ST for the same hour on the previous 3 d) and analyzed. In both farms, rST decreased in a biphasic manner before calving. Briefly, an ambient temperature-independent gradual decrease occurred from around 36 to 16 h before calving, and an ambient temperature-dependent sharp decrease occurred from around 6 h before until calving. To make a universal calving prediction model, training data were prepared from pregnant cattle under different ambient temperatures (10 data sets were randomly selected from each of the 3 ambient temperature groups: <15°C, ≥15°C to <25°C, and ≥25°C in farm A). An hourly calving prediction model was then constructed with the training data by support vector machine based on 15 features extracted from sensing data (indicative of pre-calving rST changes) and 1 feature from non-sensor-based data (days to expected calving date). When the prediction model was applied to the data that were not part of the training process, calving within the next 24 h was predicted with sensitivities and precisions of 85.3% and 71.9% in farm A (n = 75), and 81.8% and 67.5% in farm B (n = 33), respectively. No differences were observed in means and variances of intervals from the calving alerts to actual calving between farms (12.7 ± 5.8 and 13.0 ± 5.6 h in farms A and B, respectively). Above all, a calving prediction model based on continuous measurement of ST with supervised machine learning has the potential to achieve effective calving prediction, irrespective of the rearing condition in dairy cattle.

Higaki Shogo, Koyama Keisuke, Sasaki Yosuke, Abe Kodai, Honkawa Kazuyuki, Horii Yoichiro, Minamino Tomoya, Mikurino Yoko, Okada Hironao, Miwakeichi Fumikazu, Darhan Hongyu, Yoshioka Koji


body surface temperature, parturition prediction, precision dairy farming, wearable sensor