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Gujarat: Cows as telecom subscribers? Digital belts to track their fitness


Kamlesh Pandya, a dairy farmer in Shili village of Anand’s Umreth taluka, knows a day or two in advance when one of his cows will fall sick. An Israeli technology is helping dairy farmers in India’s milk cradle Anand track the health of their animals in advance.

Like fitness bands or trackers that are rage amongst health freaks these days, cows in the milkshed area of Anand are equipped with digital belts that are tied around their necks.

Based on the movement of the cows, the chip-enabled belts alert the owners as well as Amul Dairy’s dedicated call centre in Anand if the bovine is likely to fall sick.

What’s more? Telecom service providers are seeing a market in this segment as the belt relays information on mobile phones of farmers. A couple of them have already approached Amul Dairy which has set a target of covering one lakh animals within the next one year.

“Usually, when one sees a cow, you hardly realize that it’s sick. But with this technology, I get an alert on my mobile phone if my cow is likely to get ill in the next couple of days. On checking the temperature, you realize that it is having a high temperature. This is the biggest benefit of this technology. I can start providing them treatment before they fall sick ensuring their speedy recovery,” said Pandya, who has been running the dairy farm since 2008.

Telcos excited as Amul Dairy targets 1 lakh bovines

The biggest advantage is that the farm owners get a notification when their animals is in silent heat (sexually receptive). It ensures that artificial insemination (AI) is done on time and the animal turns pregnant without delay.

A dairy farmer incurs loss of nearly Rs 15,000 a year if such silent heat cycles go undetected.

Amul Dairy’s managing director Amit Vyas, said, “Like fit-bits in your hands help you know the number of walking steps or pulse rate, these digital belts/ trackers help us know whether the animal is eating and drinking properly, whether it is moving or not. It also has data of when the animal got pregnant or had a miscarriage.”

“The Israeli technology has been modified to suit Indian conditions and environment as landholding of our dairy farmers is less. We are targeting 10,000 digital belts of which 3,200 have been commissioned. Our target is to cover one lakh animals within one year,” said Vyas.

Amul Dairy officials were surprised when a top telecom player recently approached them to enter into an agreement. “They are seeing 10,000 consumers which will eventually turn into a subscriber base of one lakh,” he said.

Currently, a dairy farmer spends Rs 5 per day per animal towards one digital tracker tied on the neck of his animal. “Eventually, as volumes go up and we evolve the technology further, we want to bring down this cost to Rs 1 per day per animal,” he said.


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