Dairy researchers use text alerts from cows

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Daisy, Melissa Greenbacker_97060

Melissa Greenbacker of Durham, Conn., holds her dairy cow, Daisy, during a news conference in Hartford, Conn., Thursday, March 12, 2009 outside the Legislative Office Building. The news conference was held by legislators, state officials and dairy farmers seeking support for Connecticut dairy farmers. (AP Photo/Bob Child)

NEW HAMPSHIRE (AP) – University of New Hampshire dairy researchers are more relaxed these days about monitoring pregnant cows: A sensor attached to their tails sends text alerts to help detect when they’re in labor.

Moocall measures tail movement patterns triggered by labor contractions. On average, it alerts dairy managers by cellphone and email about an hour before a cow gives birth.

Moocall was developed in Ireland and released commercially last year. The company says the University of Kentucky also uses the technology.

Doctoral student Kayla Aragona says with about 70 calves are born every year at the farm, it’s a help.

But it’s not foolproof. One unhappy cow rubbed her tail up against everything and banged the sensor on the wall to try to get it to fall off, leading to false alarms.

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