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Stackyard News Feb 06

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New auto ID system launched for goat and sheep milking

The new Sensomatic Watch ID system, designed to boost the reliability and economy of animal data recording in goat and sheep milking parlours, uses wrist-worn receiver/transmitters for automatic animal identification
Sensomatic Watch ID system

A NEW auto identification system designed to boost the reliability and economy of animal data recording in goat and sheep milking parlours is being launched by Fullwood.

According to Fullwood technical director John Baines, the lively behaviour of goats and sheep can make some conventional systems, which identify animals at the point of entering the parlour, difficult to implement - since animals can go on to enter milking stalls ‘out of order’.

Alternatively, in-post systems that use separate fixed antennas mounted to each milking stall to identify animals can be expensive, he adds.

In answer, the new Sensomatic Watch ID system incorporates a special watch-like receiver/transmitter worn on operators’ wrists to detect both the ‘address’ of the milking stall and the unique identification number of the animal - but only once the animal is in situ and being milked.

“In this way the link between the animal and stall is only created once the goat or sheep is correctly in position,” explains Mr Baines, “Consequently, data on that animal’s milk yield can be obtained accurately and reliably.

“Also, with the Fullwood Sensomatic Watch ID system, many of the infrastructure costs of multiple antennae and hard wiring used in alternative systems are eliminated,” he adds

Identification of both the stall and animal by the Watch ID system is initiated automatically when the operator presses the button to start the milking process for each stall. This simultaneously activates the ‘watch’ to record the identity of the Sensomatic milk yield indicator for that stall.

At the same time, the ‘watch’ is primed for 15 seconds to record the animal’s identity from a tag transponder fitted to its rear leg as the ‘watch’ passes near it during cluster attachment.

Both the stall address and tag number are transmitted to the system’s central receiver mounted elsewhere in the parlour, prior to passing via network cable to Fullwood’s Crystal herd management software for recording of individual milk output. The stall address and tag number are also displayed on the Sensomatic display of that stall.

The system is capable of supporting up to three operators each wearing one of the rechargeable ‘watches’ working in the parlour at the same time. Prices for the new Sensomatic Watch ID system start at £2,600 for the watch, charger and central receiver, not including Sensomatic Milk Monitors or Crystal Software which may already be installed. Overall price for the complete system will depend on the number of stalls and leg tags required.

“In short it is a complete, wireless identification system with low installation costs offering a reliable and economic alternative for goat and sheep installations,” Mr Baines adds.

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