Development of an automatic cow body condition scoring using body shape signature and Fourier descriptors Academic Article uri icon


  • Body condition evaluation is a common tool to assess energy reserves of dairy cows and to estimate their fatness or thinness. This study presents a computer-vision tool that automatically estimates cow's body condition score. Top-view images of 151 cows were collected on an Israeli research dairy farm using a digital still camera located at the entrance to the milking parlor. The cow's tailhead area and its contour were segmented and extracted automatically. Two types of features of the tailhead contour were extracted: (1) the angles and distances between 5 anatomical points; and (2) the cow signature, which is a 1-dimensional vector of the Euclidean distances from each point in the normalized tailhead contour to the shape center. Two methods were applied to describe the cow's signature and to reduce its dimension: (1) partial least squares regression, and (2) Fourier descriptors of the cow signature. Three prediction models were compared with manual scores of an expert. Results suggest that (1) it is possible to automatically extract and predict body condition from color images without any manual interference; and (2) Fourier descriptors of the cow's signature result in improved performance (R(2) = 0.77).

publication date

  • January 1, 2013