Biometric identification of dairy cows via real-time facial recognition

N. Bergman, Y. Yitzhaky, I. Halachmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Biometrics methods, which currently identify humans, can potentially identify dairy cows. Given that animal movements cannot be easily controlled, identification accuracy and system robustness are challenging when deploying an animal biometrics recognition system on a real farm. Our proposed method performs multiple-cow face detection and face classification from videos by adjusting recent state-of-the-art deep-learning methods. As part of this study, a system was designed and installed at four meters above a feeding zone at the Volcani Institute's dairy farm. Two datasets were acquired and annotated, one for facial detection and the second for facial classification of 77 cows. We achieved for facial detection a mean average precision (at Intersection over Union of 0.5) of 97.8% using the YOLOv5 algorithm, and facial classification accuracy of 96.3% using a Vision-Transformer model with a unique loss-function borrowed from human facial recognition. Our combined system can process video frames with 10 cows’ faces, localize their faces, and correctly classify their identities in less than 20 ms per frame. Thus, up to 50 frames per second video files can be processed with our system in real-time at a dairy farm. Our method efficiently performs real-time facial detection and recognition on multiple cow faces using deep neural networks, achieving a high precision in real-time operation. These qualities can make the proposed system a valuable tool for an automatic biometric cow recognition on farms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101079
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Computer vision
  • Deep learning
  • Farm management
  • Feeding behaviour
  • Real-time monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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