Farmers can now get texts from their cows when they are sick or pregnant.
An Austrian startup, SmaXtec, is placing connected sensors in cows’ stomachs to transmit health data via wifi.
The sensors, which are the size of a hot dog, track minute-by-minute data about the temperature of the cow, the pH of her stomach, movement, and activity, and they identify when the animal is in heat.
With 95 percent accuracy, the device can determine if a cow is pregnant.
When changes are monitored, the farm staff receives a text update.
The device, which has roughly four years of battery life, is inserted into the first of four stomachs through a cow’s throat using a metal rod and lodges in the rumen, Bloomberg reports.
It can be hard for humans to tell a cow is ill until there are visible signs of sickness, but the sensors can pick up and report changes even before there are physical symptoms.
“It’s easier, after all, to look at the situation from inside the cow than in the lab,” SmaXtec co-founder Stefan Rosenkranz told Bloomberg.
Nearly 350 farms across two dozen countries are reportedly using this technology to monitor livestock.
SmaXtec started offering this device about six years ago and the device has been successfully implanted in 15,000 cows in Britain.
It costs $600 to set up the network and between $75 and $400 is charged per cow by the company or distributors.
Farmers incur a monthly charge of $10 per cow for the service.
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