An eye for cattle facial recognition technology

If you’ve stared one cow in the face, you’ve seen them all… right?

New technology being developed at Kansas State University is debunking that thought and capitalizing on the power of artificial intelligence to build a database of facial recognition technology for the cattle industry.

Just like humans, each cow has a set of unique facial features that modern technology can scan and later use to track the animal throughout its life. Several K-State researchers from the College of Agriculture, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering are developing an artificial intelligence network for cattle that is based on human facial recognition technology.

“Our thinking is, ‘Why can’t we have something like that for beef cattle, which could then be used to create a national animal disease traceability system?’” said KC Olson, beef cattle scientist with K-State Research and Extension, who has helped to develop the idea. “The need for such a system has never been greater. We need this extra layer of protection for our industry against a foreign animal disease or possible malfeasance by somebody who’s an enemy of this nation.”

K-State has worked with Kansas City-based company Black Hereford Holdings Inc. to build a smartphone app called CattleTracs, which allows producers to submit pictures of their cattle.

Read more about the cattle facial recognition technology.