The Body Condition Score (BCS) for cows indicates their energy reserves, the scoring for which ranges from very thin to overweight. These measurements are especially useful during calving, as well as early lactation. Achieving a correct BCS helps avoid calving difficulties, losses and other health problems. Although BCS can be rated by experts, it is time-consuming and often inconsistent when performed by different experts. Therefore, the aim of our system is to develop a computerized system to reduce inconsistencies and to provide a time-saving solution. In our proposed system, the automatic body condition scoring system is introduced by using a 3D camera, image processing techniques and regression models. The experimental data were collected on a rotary parlor milking station on a large-scale dairy farm in Japan. The system includes an application platform for automatic image selection as a primary step, which was developed for smart monitoring of individual cows on large-scale farms. Moreover, two analytical models are proposed in two regions of interest (ROI) by extracting 3D surface roughness parameters. By applying the extracted parameters in mathematical equations, the BCS is automatically evaluated based on measurements of model accuracy, with one of the two models achieving a mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of 3.9%, and a mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.13.
Keywords: 3D camera; 3D surface roughness parameters; body condition score; regression analysis; rotary parlor.