Farming apps are the new bubble, my friend (a Tinker Bell-sized bubble, but still). Not only can you track your yield, find commodity prices, and chart rainfall, but now you can keep tabs on when your dairy cows are feeling frisky.

silent-herdsman-cow-necklace
NMR

The key to the latter is a British innovation called the Silent Herdsman, which cows wear like a high-tech necklace. (It’s more of a Tamagotchi than an iPhone app.) The sensor monitors cattle’s temperature and wirelessly alerts the farmer via computer when they’re in heat — otherwise, somebody would have to be constantly elbow-deep in bovine hoo-ha.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, farmers are constantly looking for a way to avoid these more hands-on methods — the Silent Herdsman isn’t even the first estrus-monitoring tool we’ve reported on. A Swiss device sends texts when a cow is in heat, but it involves implanting a transmitter in the genitals — a leeeeetle more invasive.


Knowing the intricacies of a cow’s cycle isn’t just to avoid getting your leg humped. As Silent Herdsman CEO Annette MacDougall explains, “It’s important because, if you can maximize the probability of a pregnancy in cows, the likelihood is you’re going to increase your milk yields.” Small farmers need all the help they can get.

The Silent Herdsman is coming to the U.S. soon; it’s already a reality in China, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Germany. As Sydney Brownstone of Fast Company suggests, it’d be even cooler if the device could measure methane from cows. After tracking their fertility, farts seem like no big deal.