School: Melrose High
Area of Science: agriculture
Interim: Team 46
Melrose High School
Till the Cows Come Home
Problem: Farmers today are spending too much time counting their herds, making sure that they have all of their animals accounted for. If they are missing farmers also spend large amounts of valuable time driving around looking for lost animals. Since the cattle give birth in the springtime, there might be snow or mud still on the ground, and the ranchers and farmers will possibly not be able to find animals in need of care. Time is limited to finding a cow and calf before complications arise, when animals are giving birth. This takes a lot of time and effort. There has to be another way to find the cows without losing time and wasting effort in finding them.
Plan: Our plan is to model a tracking device that tracks the cow’s location, heart rate, temperature, and the metabolic rate in order to predict when it will give birth. With the trackers, our team proposes that it will save time and effort for the farmers as they will be able to drive directly to them when the calving times arrives. We have made a map to show a pasture where the cows may be. This map now includes features like brush and low spots. Our computer program shows an aerial view of the pasture, terrain, and the cows. The cows are agents that “flock” together. We are also planning to show individual cows separate from the herd to calve.
Progress: My team and I have made the map of the pastures with the brush and low spots and where the cows would most likely give birth. We have started our computer program on Netlogo to show what the map shows, and a few other things as well. For example, we put a watering hole in, some roads, and the low spots. We are also researching the rate of cows giving birth, how long they are in labor, the rate of breeding, pre-calving, and what complications can arise birthing a calf. We are planning to research more about a wide variety of things. We did personal interviews, looked at some books, and looked at some websites, to help further our research.
Expected Results: We are hoping that with the trackers, we will be able to prove how much faster using this device would be rather than driving aimlessly around. We predict that the tracker will help farmers cut the time in half of finding the new mother, checking the vitals and making sure there are no other complications. We are also hoping farmers will use this new invention to make their lives a whole lot easier.
Personal Interview: Logan Potts – DVM, Clovis Vet Hospital. Fall 2018.
Personal Interview: Kelly Powell – Livestock Producer, Grady, NM. Fall 2018.
Book: Beef Production. T.L. Hodsworth. 1972. Elsevier Ltd.
Internet research: www.thecattlesite.com. Jack C. Whittier. February 2007. University of Missouri.
Internet research: www.progressivecattlemen.com. Bobbi Kunde. January 24 2012. Bobbi Kunde.
Sponsoring Teacher: Alan Daugherty
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