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Phoenix-area dairy equipping its cows with pedometers

Danzeisen Dairy

A Phoenix-area dairy is making sure its cows get a workout.

Danzeisen Dairy in Laveen is tracking the steps of its cattle herd through pedometers. The devices are placed above one of the back hooves, and dairy General Manager Kevin Danzeisen said the cows don’t even know it’s there. The data from the pedometers is fed into a computer at the dairy offices.

“From that data, we can tell whether or not there’s something wrong with this cow or not, because we know how many average steps she’s supposed to take,” Danzeisen said.

A cow averages about 12,000 steps per day, but Danzeisen explained that some cows will step more and some will step less. He said the computer knows how many steps to expect from each cow on a daily basis. If the cow isn’t walking as much as normal, it could be a problem, but the dairy farmers realize it pretty quickly.

“We can go and check her before we ever see signs of anything that’s wrong with her,” Danzeisen said.

As the cattle leave the barn at night, the computer communicates with a gate, which separates any cow that might need more attention, from the rest of the herd.

“Not only is the computer telling us which cows we should look at, the computer’s actually getting them out for us,” Danzeisen said. “The cows are standing there next to the barn in the morning and we just go take care of whatever we need to take care of.”

Of the 2,200 cows at Danzeisen Dairy, only about half the cows wear pedometers. Danzeisen added he wants to see how it works for the first half of cows before equipping the other half with the devices.

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