Information and Communication Technologies and Robotics for Sustainable Agriculture
Connecterra: Project Happy Cow

Project No: 14639

Project dates:
1 Mar 2015 - 31 Oct 2016

Yasir Khokhar, Connecterra (Netherlands)

Collaborating Institutions:

Kees Lokhorst, Wageningen University and Research Center (Netherlands)

Kaarle Jaakkola, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Finland)

Frank Oudshoorn, SEGES P/S (Denmark)

Project website
Ida product website
Video demonstration
Full report


Proposal Summary

Happy Cow developed hardware and software for a cloud-based estrus detection system for dairy farms, with special focus on organic dairy farms. Our approach is based from the perspective of the internet of things leveraging the FIWARE platform. Increased cost of production and abolishment of the quota system will put pressure on dairy farmers to find new ways to optimize their farm production. Estrus detection is one of the fundamental optimization points in operations and can save farmers significant amounts of money. While current detection systems provide adequate accuracy, they are mostly based on algorithms designed for indoor farms and costly monolithic implementations. Happy Cow is targeting its scalable, adaptive system for indoor and free grazing cows at farms of any scale.

Main Results

In order to detect estrus and animal behavior, our solution uses sensors mounted on cows and connected to our cloud services platform providing a unique approach to estrus detection leveraging deep learning, life-time data storage and FIWARE integration to enable new services based on sensor networks. Aforementioned sensor system and cloud services platform were developed within the Happy Cow project. An experiment was conducted on life stock in Denmark to train and validate existing and newly developed algorithms for detection of animal behavior (e.g. rumination, walking and eating activities). Life trials were ran on multiple farms in the Netherlands to train and validate probabilistic models that detect estrus successfully.


The results of the applied research in the Happy Cow project are used in Ida, a commercially available health and activity tracker for dairy cows that is available to dairy farmers since 2017 via Connecterra and partners. The product currently offers estrus detection, health and feed alerts. As of today, Ida is used by dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Pakistan and Canada. The commercially available hardware for Ida is designed and assembled in the Netherlands.