Farmers’ preferences for automatic lameness-detection systems in dairy cattle

Tim Van De Gucht, Wouter Saeys, Annelies Van Nuffel, Liesbet Pluym, Kristine Piccart, Ludwig Lauwers, Jürgen Vangeyte, Stephanie Van Weyenberg

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikelpeer review


    As lameness is a major health problem in dairy herds,
    a lot of attention goes to the development of automated
    lameness-detection systems. Few systems have made it
    to the market, as most are currently still in development.
    To get these systems ready for practice, developers
    need to define which system characteristics are
    important for the farmers as end users. In this study,
    farmers’ preferences for the different characteristics of
    proposed lameness-detection systems were investigated.
    In addition, the influence of sociodemographic and farm
    characteristics on farmers’ preferences was assessed.
    The third aim was to find out if preferences change
    after the farmer receives extra information on lameness
    and its consequences. Therefore, a discrete choice
    experiment was designed with 3 alternative lamenessdetection
    systems: a system attached to the cow, a
    walkover system, and a camera system. Each system
    was defined by 4 characteristics: the percentage missed
    lame cows, the percentage false alarms, the system
    cost, and the ability to indicate which leg is lame. The
    choice experiment was embedded in an online survey.
    After answering general questions and choosing their
    preferred option in 4 choice sets, extra information on
    lameness was provided. Consecutively, farmers were
    shown a second block of 4 choice sets. Results from
    135 responses showed that farmers’ preferences were
    influenced by the 4 system characteristics. The importance
    a farmer attaches to lameness, the interval between
    calving and first insemination, and the presence
    of an estrus-detection system contributed significantly
    to the value a farmer attaches to lameness-detection
    systems. Farmers who already use an estrus detection
    system were more willing to use automatic detection
    systems instead of visual lameness detection. Similarly,
    farmers who achieve shorter intervals between calving
    and first insemination and farmers who find lameness
    highly important had a higher tendency to choose for
    automatic lameness detection. A sensor attached to the
    cow was preferred, followed by a walkover system and
    a camera system. In general, visual lameness detection
    was preferred over automatic detection systems, but
    this preference changed after informing farmers about
    the consequences of lameness. To conclude, the system
    cost and performance were important features, but
    dairy farmers should be sensitized on the consequences
    of lameness and its effect on farm profitability.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TijdschriftJournal of Dairy Science
    Pagina's (van-tot)5746-5757
    Aantal pagina’s12
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 30-mrt.-2017

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