Development of a recurrent neural networks-based calving prediction model using activity and behavioral data

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Keceli A. S., Catal C., KAYA A., Tekinerdogan B.

COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS IN AGRICULTURE, vol.170, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 170
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.compag.2020.105285
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Applied Science & Technology Source, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Calving prediction, Recurrent neural networks, Machine learning, Precision dairy farming, FEEDING-BEHAVIOR, BEEF-COWS, DAIRY-COW, TIME, PARTURITION, TEMPERATURE, RUMINATION, VALIDATION, SENSOR, DYSTOCIA
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Accurate prediction of calving time in dairy cattle is crucial for dairy herd management to reduce risks like dystocia and pain. Prediction of calving using traditional, manual observation such as observing breeding records and visual cues, however, is a complicated and error-prone task whereby even experts can fail to provide a proper prediction. Moreover, manual prediction does not scale for larger farms and becomes very soon time-consuming, inefficient, and costly. In this context, automated solutions are considered to be promising to provide both better and more efficient predictions, thereby supporting the health of the dairy cows and reducing the unnecessary overhead for farmers. Although the first automated solutions appear to have mainly focused on statistical solutions, currently, machine learning approaches are now increasingly being considered as a feasible and promising approach for accurate prediction of calving. In this context, the objective of this study is to develop machine learning-based prediction models that provide higher performance compared to the existing tools, methods, and techniques. This study shows that the calving of the cattle can be predicted by applying several behaviors of cattle, behavioral monitoring sensors, and machine learning models. Bi-directional Long Short-Term Memory (Bi-LSTM) method has been applied for the prediction of the calving day, and the RusBoosted Tree classifier has been used to predict the remaining 8 h before calving. The experimental results demonstrated that Bi-LSTM provides better performance compared to the LSTM algorithm in terms of classification accuracy, while the RusBoosted Tree algorithm predicts the remaining 8 h accurately before calving. Furthermore, Recurrent Neural Networks provide high performance for the prediction of calving day.