Transactions of the ASABE vol:53 issue:4 pages:1305-1312
The aim of this study was to explore the possibility of capturing cow locomotion activity by computer vision techniques and to calculate the correlation between step overlap and manually measured locomotion scores. In two experiments, a total of 208 video recordings of 85 individual lactating cows were gait scored visually by an observer. The side-view videos were recorded when cows were freely passing the experimental setup. After image processing, the imprint location, step overlap, body size, and relative step overlap were calculated. The values of automatically measured step overlap showed a high correlation with the manually measured step overlap (R-2 = 0.739, p < 0.001; R-2 = 0.809, p < 0.001). The maximal step overlap allowed differentiation between gait scores 1 and 3 (p = 0.032) and between gait scores 2 and 3 (p = 0.039). The difference between gait scores 1 and 2 was not significant (p = 0.079). There was a large variation between individual cows, in both the progress of lameness and the influence on step overlap. Changes in step overlap were also seen that were not matched by changes in gait score. Step overlap is a variable that shows a relationship with manual gait scores, but it is not strong enough to be used as a single classifier for lameness in all cows.