Precision Technologies to Address Dairy Cattle Welfare: Focus on Lameness, Mastitis and Body Condition

Animals (Basel). 2021 Jul 30;11(8):2253. doi: 10.3390/ani11082253.


Specific animal-based indicators that can be used to predict animal welfare have been the core of protocols for assessing the welfare of farm animals, such as those produced by the Welfare Quality project. At the same time, the contribution of technological tools for the accurate and real-time assessment of farm animal welfare is also evident. The solutions based on technological tools fit into the precision livestock farming (PLF) concept, which has improved productivity, economic sustainability, and animal welfare in dairy farms. PLF has been adopted recently; nevertheless, the need for technological support on farms is getting more and more attention and has translated into significant scientific contributions in various fields of the dairy industry, but with an emphasis on the health and welfare of the cows. This review aims to present the recent advances of PLF in dairy cow welfare, particularly in the assessment of lameness, mastitis, and body condition, which are among the most relevant animal-based indications for the welfare of cows. Finally, a discussion is presented on the possibility of integrating the information obtained by PLF into a welfare assessment framework.

Keywords: behavior; body condition score; dairy cows; infrared thermography; lameness; mastitis; precision livestock farming; welfare.

Publication types

  • Review