Dairy farming

SmartBow®- The Most Advanced Dairy Cow Monitoring System

With labour and time at a premium on farms, many are turning to technology to ensure they are remaining as efficient as possible. This technology, known as precision livestock farming is driving performance in all areas including drone mapping, automated feeding, milking and the analysis and integration of data. The definition of precision livestock farming is the use of advanced technologies to optimise the contribution of each animal. This per-animal approach allows the farmer to deliver better results in livestock farming. These results can be quantitative, qualitative and/or addressing sustainability.

SmartBow sensor technology truly fulfils the definition of precision livestock farming, as it allows for individual monitoring of your animals. Each animal then gets the attention it requires to ensure it is productive and delivers long term profitability to you and your farm.

Why SmartBow?

SmartBow is the most advanced dairy cow monitoring system available, it uses a simple eartag to provide data on each of your animals constantly. It comes with 3 major functions;

1. Industry leading rumination monitoring with up to 99% accuracy1,2 you can identify health issues earlier. The health function is based on the rumination behaviour of the individual cow. The ear moves continuously when a cow is ruminating and the individual pattern is detected by the acceleration sensor in the eartag.

Two different alerts can be generated to give you an indication of a potential health issue the animal may have. These can be either; an acute decline in rumination, where rumination decreases significantly over a few hours or a long-term decline in rumination, where it is shown over several days. As every animal has a distinctively different rumination pattern, each animal serves as its own reference. This pattern depends on factors such as; age, stage of lactation and the composition of feed. Every alert generated will be individual to the cow, thus enabling the high level of accuracy.

Rumination monitoring provides huge benefits to the farm as an early detection system for disease. This means potential disease may be identified before outward clinical signs are detected enabling immediate assessment and treatment if necessary. Earlier, accurate treatment can result in a faster recovery and return to productivity and profitability. There’s also the added potential for reduced medicine usage. Monitoring also gives objective feedback on well-being and productivity across the herd.

2. Unparalleled heat detection with 97% accuracy3, saving time and increasing insemination success. SmartBow detects 80,000 values a day from each animal analysing activity levels to give you highly accurate, around the clock, heat detection.

In addition to freeing up labour time from heat detection, the system also indicates an ideal time for insemination thus allowing for a greater chance of the animal getting in calf. This leads to better fertility KPIs for the farm including, submission rate, conception rate, days open and calving interval.

The heat is highlighted visually on both the App and the PC as in the image below, showing the timing of bulling, alerts are also generated via email and SMS to let you know instantaneously.

3. Live location tracking; know where each of your cows are 24/7, to save time and labour finding them. Each eartag sends out a signal, the time it takes for that signal to reach different receivers is measured, allowing for the exact position of the cow to be determined, this is then displayed on a digital map on PC, Smartphone or Tablet.

This real time location tracking enables you to find your animals quickly and easily, not only saving treatment or intervention time, but also the potential for increased treatment success by not waiting until the animal is in the parlour.

This is all coupled with APRIL (Advanced Pattern Recognition Intelligent Learning), which means each animal is treated as an individual. SmartBow learns the individual behaviour of each of your cows, so when an alert is generated you can trust that the animal needs your attention.  SmartBow allows you to truly monitor each individual animal 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. SmartBow will watch your cows, giving you freedom to manage your time and labour, without any declines in productivity and profitability.

Why an Eartag?

The SmartBow eartag collects data on activity, rumination and the current location in real-time. It is easy to install and can be applied in seconds. Being such a small sensor, it does not impact the animal, there is no need to adjust and no slipping like some other sensors. The eartag does not require replacement as the animal grows. Battery exchange is simple, and the tags are reusable, so they can be removed from cull animals and put in replacements.

The eartag means that the alerts are tailored and respond to the movement in that individual animal. These alerts are real time and are sent as emails, SMS, and displayed on the android app and desktop PC, along with the real time location of that animal.

How can I find out more?

SMARTBOW is brought to you by Zoetis, the world leader in animal health, SMARTBOW is backed by customer support from trusted experts. From system installation to optimisation, Zoetis provides continuous service and support to make the most of SMARTBOW technology and improve the outcomes on your dairy farm. To take advantage of the most advanced monitoring system contact Zoetis today contact Zoetis today on 0845 300 8034 or visit www.smartbow.com to find out how SMARTBOW can benefit you.


  1. Reiter S, Sattlecker G, Lidauer L, Kickinger F, Öhlschuster M, Auer W, Schweinzer V, Klein-Jöbstl D, Drillich M, Iwersen M. Evaluation of an ear-tag-based accelerometer for monitoring rumination in dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 2018;101(4):3398-3411. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-12686.
  2. Borchers M, Chang YM, Tsai IC, Wadsworth BA, Bewley JM. A validation of technologies monitoring dairy cow feeding, ruminating and lying behaviors. Journal of Dairy Science 2016;99(9):7458-7466. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2015-10843.
  3. Schweinzer V, Lidauer L, Berger A, Kickinger F, Öhlschuster M, Auer W, Drillich M, Iwersen M. Evaluation of the ear-tag sensor system SMARTBOW for detecting estrus events in indoor housed dairy cows. 2018. Proceedings of the 14th international conference on precision agriculture June 24–27