A real-time control system for individual dairy cow food intake Academic Article uri icon


  • A real-time control system for individual food intake of group-housed dairy cows was designed and implemented. The system consists of 40 feeding stations, each position comprising an automatic opening and closing yoke-gate. The specially designed electro-pneumatic yoke-gate combines off-the-shelf identification, weighing and control systems in a unique mechanical implementation. The yoke-system enables real-time control of food intake, which can be specified for each cow, and for each station through an interactive user interface. In addition, the system enables measurement and utilization of on-line data related to individual food intake and feeding behavior information such as food access frequency, meal duration, intake rate and food quantity for each visit of a cow kept in the group. The advantages of this design are: (i) the system is based on commercial components, (ii) simplicity and high reliability resulting in low maintenance, and (iii) continuous measurement of all feeding parameters, including during the meal. Although the yoke-system was built for a research institute, it is a step towards a commercial system.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998