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The Connected Cow: Optimizing Dairy Cow Health And Productivity With Technology

Steven Savage

June 9, 2022

Ads for dairy products often talk about cows being happy or contented. That’s not just a marketing angle. Cows produce the most milk and the highest quality milk when they are healthy, feel safe, get plenty of feed they like, get milked when they want to and are neither hot nor cold. The people who tend dairy cattle have every incentive to keep them happy, but as labor becomes scarcer, the level of attention required for monitoring cows is hard to achieve.


“The future of farming is high-tech,” said Adam Hurtgen, a dairy farmer located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, in an interview with for this article.


Hurtgen’s farm, Hurtgenlea Holsteins, consists of over 300 registered Holstein cows. As multi-generational family dairy farmers, Adam and his parents, Leo and Karen, have produced the #1 Net Merit Cow and #1 Net Merit Bull in the world, whose influences are recognized throughout the globe. The Hurtgen’s strive to produce “Quality Milk from Quality Cows.” Like many dairy farmers, Hurtgen wanted to maximize the level of care delivered, to maintain a profitable enterprise and decided to seek out technology solutions for assistance. Some dairy farms utilize robotic milking machines that help make milking easier and more efficient for farmers, as well as a more enjoyable experience for the cows. However, they are not a sufficient means of monitoring for underlying health issues. After scouring the web, Hurtgen discovered an Austrian company called smaXtec that offers a solution to help dairy farmers track the health status of individual cowsusing artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).


smaXtec offers electronic monitoring devices that can measure important health and digestion parameters using a sensor from inside the cow’s first stomach – its rumen.


forbes.com