Research Blog

New and archived research articles by Professor Toby Mottram

University of Kentucky Acidosis Challenge

In 2013 the University of Kentucky’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences in Lexington, KY trialled some of our boluses with the intention of monitoring how the rumen pH responds to an acidosis challenge. Despite the fact they didn’t manage to induce acidosis they still got a clear picture of how the rumen pH fluctuated daily and responded to the changes in feed.

Slovak University releases study using farmBolus

A recent study from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovak Republic shows the capabilities of the eCow farmBolus. 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 not possible using single point measurements such as oro-ruminal probes or rumenocentesis.

Rumen pH does not correlate to milk yield at herd level

The European Association of Animal Production (EAAP) held its 66th Conference in the amazing modern city of Warsaw last week (31/08-3/09/15). The EAAP of which I am a member through British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) is a sprawling organisation covering every sort of foul, mammal and fish farmed in Europe but it has steadily evolved precision livestock farming (PLF).

Keeping Track of Veterinary Medicines

Hardly a day goes by without someone claiming that overuse of antibiotics is threatening to overwhelm health care and treatment of infections. There is a lazy assumption that livestock farming is to blame for this, in the same way it is to blame for global warming, polluted rivers and internet insecurity advertising. New software which eCow is testing prior to release later in the autumn will help with two of these problems.

Does heat stress affect ruminal pH?

It’s long been speculated that heat stress caused by increasing ambient temperatures could reduce the ruminal pH and therefore amplify the risk of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA). Proposed mechanisms for this include reduced feed intake during heat stress and therefore reduced rumination and saliva production to buffer the rumen.

Now there’s proof that heat stress affects cows

Last week in the UK (29/06/15 – 05/07/15) we had an unusually hot couple of days, at some points reaching above 30°C. So here at eCow we decided to see if there was a correlation between ambient temperature (information from and internal rumen temperature (measured by the farmBolus). Here is what we found.


People often ask why boluses don’t last longer when the batteries will keep going for 2 years. This article explains the various reasons for bolus drift and how to identify when a bolus drifts in order to prevent inaccurate data entering your analysis.

Copenhagen EAAP2014: Using farmBolus on practical dairy farms

The EAAP 2014 meeting is the 65th in the series and finally we are beginning to get precision livestock farming regularly onto the agenda. I am presenting a series of case notes from the trials we ran last year with Three Counties Feeds and Mole Valley. Results on farm are far more complex than we see in research and a great deal of expert interpretation is needed to use the bolus data to improve work routines, feed offered.