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The world’s best rumen pH research bolus
We make a rumen bolus that measures pH and temperature every minute of every day, accurately, for up to 5 months. Interested? Find out more about our boluses here. We also have projects for Smart Agri Food and Milkalyser.
Here is some evidence from one of our customers showing the long accurate operational life of our bolus.
All pH sensing rumen boluses drift over time. With eCow boluses you can observe exactly when this starts.
The above graph shows data from a trial by one of our research customers. In the final period a narrowing of the pH range followed by a steep incline towards pH 7 can be observed. This is pH sensor drift caused by rumen fluid diffusing into the sensor and poisoning the reference electrode. We would advise that 150 days is the maximum length of time to trust the data when the bolus has not been retrieved and recalibrated (only possible in fistulated/cannulated cattle). For more information on drift in eCow boluses please see this news post.
Some companies include algorithms that attempt to compensate for this drift, but until the drift is rigorously characterised these algorithms will only serve to further complicate the data received. What you get from the eCow bolus is the raw data without any “drift compensation”. As drift is non-linear it is impossible to write compensating software, it is best to analyse this by eye and exclude compromised data.
A recent study from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovak Republic shows the capabilities of the eCow bolus. Continuous reticuloruminal pH data over a period of 45 days were collected from 7 Holstein dairy cows, allowing for in-depth analysis of pH variations. Find the study here. The graph below shows the daily average courses of reticuloruminal pH for the 7 cows used. Using the bespoke eCow software HathorHBClient v. 1.8.1 they were able to easily access and convert the raw data for evaluation with IBM SPSS v. 20.0 (One-way ANNOVA).
Studies such as this are invaluable to the dairy industry, helping to further quantify variations in ruminal activity and how these are affected by management conditions.