Machine-learning-based calving prediction from activity, lying, and ruminating behaviors in dairy cattle

Borchers, M R and Chang, Y M and Proudfoot, K L and Wadsworth, B A and Stone, A E and Bewley, J M (2017) Machine-learning-based calving prediction from activity, lying, and ruminating behaviors in dairy cattle. JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. pp. 5664-5674. ISSN 0022-0302

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to use automated activity, lying, and rumination monitors to characterize prepartum behavior and predict calving in dairy cattle. Data were collected from 20 primiparous and 33 multiparous Holstein dairy cattle from September 2011 to May 2013 at the University of Kentucky Coldstream Dairy. The HR Tag (SCR Engineers Ltd., Netanya, Israel) automatically collected neck activity and rumination data in 2-h increments. The IceQube (IceRobotics Ltd., South Queensferry, United Kingdom) automatically collected number of steps, lying time, standing time, number of transitions from standing to lying (ly-. ing bouts), and total motion, summed in 15-min increments. IceQube data were summed in 2-h increments to match HR Tag data. All behavioral data were collected for 14 d before the predicted calving date. Retrospective data analysis was performed using mixed linear models to examine behavioral changes by day in the 14 d before calving. Bihourly behavioral differences from baseline values over the 14 d before calving were also evaluated using mixed linear models. Changes in daily rumination time, total motion, lying time, and lying bouts occurred in the 14 d before calving. In the bihourly analysis, extreme values for all behaviors occurred in the final 24 h, indicating that the monitored behaviors may be useful in calving prediction. To determine whether technologies were useful at predicting calving, random forest, linear discriminant analysis, and neural network machine -learning techniques were constructed and implemented using R version 3.1.0 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria). These methods were used on variables from each technology and all combined variables from both technologies. A neural network analysis that combined variables from both technologies at the daily level yielded 100.0% sen-sitivity and 86.8% specificity. A neural network analysis that combined variables from both technologies in bihourly increments was used to identify 2-h periods in the 8 h before calving with 82.8% sensitivity and 80.4% specificity. Changes in behavior and machine-learning alerts indicate that commercially marketed behavioral monitors may have calving prediction potential.