On the use of 3D camera to accurately measure volume and weight of dairy cow feed


  • Alessio Cotticelli
  • Maria Teresa Verde
  • Annalisa Liccardo Università di Napoli Federico II
  • Giorgio de Alteriis
  • Francesco Lamonaca Department of Computer Engineering, Modeling, Electronics and Systems Engineering, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende
  • Roberta Matera
  • Gianluca Neglia
  • Tanja Peric
  • Alberto Prandi
  • Francesco Bonavolontà




dairy cow feed, 3D camera, volume measurements, distance measurements


The paper discusses the challenges facing the dairy industry due to increased farm sizes and reduced staff-to-animal ratios, which are impacting animal welfare. The development of precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies has gained momentum to address these challenges. PLF technologies can assess animal welfare and health status by monitoring animal behavior and biological changes, and alerting farmers of any issues. However, the applicability of PLF tools in other productive phases of the dairy cattle is still limited. The article focuses on the challenges of managing unweaned dairy calves, particularly the variability in relation to when calves start consuming solid feed, and how PLF technologies can be used to monitor individual calf intake and manage weaning at the individual level. The attention is mainly focused on the advantages of using automated feeders for unweaned dairy calves, including labor savings, greater precision in measurement and control of individual intake of liquid and solid feed, and higher preweaning growth rates. In particular, a method is proposed, involving a 3D depth camera and a proper algorithm to measure the volume and weight of eaten feed. The method is preliminarily assessed in tests conducted in laboratory, which highlight a remarkable concurrence (differences as low as 2 %) with respect to nominal values.






Research Papers