Reap Interactive has designed the Bovine Plus recording system to weigh cattle each time they present themselves to the water trough.

Unlike most weighing scales, the Bovine Plus system takes a weight recording from the animal when they place their two front feet on to the scale.

A built-in algorithm then calculates the animal's total weight, with the system linking back to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine (DAFM) system regarding animal breed for accuracy.

The system then connects to the farm wi-fi or a sim modem to send the data back to the software system for the farmer's viewing.

Accurate recording

Reap Interactive states that the Bovine Plus system provides a more accurate weight gain recording due to animals being recorded throughout the day, negating the effect of gut fill on the weight taken for animals.

"When we conventionally weigh animals using a scale, the difference in an animal having a full or empty gut can be between 20kg and 30kg.

"Through weighing the animal several times during the day, we are actively getting a more accurate reading," explained Declan Molloy, one half of the two-man Reap Interactive team.

Farmers can set a target liveweight gain depending on breed, sex, diet, etc.

The system also measures the number of visits the animal makes to the water trough.

Traffic light system

Any major differences in liveweight gain or trough visits are then flagged on the system's software, using a traffic light system of red meaning an issue, orange meaning a possible issue and green meaning normal activity.

This reduces the need for farmers to analyse the data collected themselves.

The system is already in place on some farms, as well as on trial at the Mountbellew Agricultural College.

Bovine Plus is targeted primarily as a performance monitoring system, but both dairy and beef farmers can use it as health monitoring system, with plans in place to measure water quality going into cattle in the future. The system also has a solar panel unit as an option to allow it to be used in field without the need for mains power.