Automatic assessment of dairy cattle body condition score using thermal imaging

I. Halachmi, M. Klopčič, P. Polak, D. J. Roberts, J. M. Bewley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Automatic and objective dairy cow body condition scoring has the potential to be used as a feed, reproduction, health and longevity management tool. The feasibility of including a body shape measurement in automatic monitoring of body condition was evaluated. The hypothesis tested was that the body shape of a fatter cow is more round than that of a thin cow and, therefore, may better fit a parabolic shape. The more prominent hooks and the tailhead depressions of a thin cow tended to diverge from the parabolic shape. An image-processing model appraised body shape. The novelties in this study compared to the previous ones (Halachmi et al., 2008; Bewley et al., 2008) were: (1) completing the full-automation of the system and (2) more accurate reference, not ultrasound. The model was implemented and its outputs were validated against manual body condition scoring (BCS) of 186 Holstein-Friesian cows. Pearson correlation between the thermally sensed BCS and the manual BCS was 0.94.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Body condition scoring (BCS)
  • Dairy cows
  • Image processing
  • Thermal camera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Horticulture


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