RESEARCHERS at the University of Missouri have created a smartphone application that can detect when a cow is at risk for heat stress and offer the best methods for intervention.
The app, ThermalAid, receives temperature and humidity data from the weather service according to the global positioning system location of the user. The user can then enter information such as whether a cow is beef or dairy, outside or in a barn, on pasture or in a feedlot, sick or healthy and other information.
The app then the information to calculate the animal's temperature humidity index (THI). If the THI for a cow is normal, the app's indicator glows green. If a cow is experiencing heat stress, the color changes to yellow, orange or red, which indicates a life-threatening condition.
"In addition to the THI, the app also measures each cow's respiration rate, which is a good indicator of heat stress impact on the animal," University of Missouri professor of animal sciences Don Spiers said. "The app has a built-in timer that can assist the farmer (with recording) the respiration rate to determine if their cows are suffering from the heat."
Through the app, farmers have access to ThermalNet, a database that provides additional climate and weather data, as well as detailed tips to manage heat stress in livestock, the announcement said. ThermalNet also allows users to communicate with experts at the university's Division of Animal Science.
Currently, the research team is hoping to partner with potential businesses to develop and market the new app and produce reasonably priced sensors that send more specific information on the animal's environment and thermal status to the app.
ThermalAid is currently available for purchase in the Apple App Store and will be available in the future in the Google Play store.