Customer Area
Well Cow Limited
Doherty Building
Pentlands Science Park
Bush Loan

Tel: 0131 514 0873

Click here for map
Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Well Cow pH/temperature bolus


  • Measures both pH and temperature
  • Size: 32mm x 145mm
  • Weight c240gm
  • Deployed target life: 80-100 days
  • Transmitter power: 0.75mW (~1dBm)
  • Range: 7-4pH
  • Accuracy: +/- 0.3pH units
  • logs the pH level every 15 minutes; the bolus can store data for 120 days if needed but we would normally expect readings to be taken every day. The shorter the time between readings the easier it is to conduct the download.

How it works:

The bolus is inserted orally and once inside the rumen it logs the pH level every 15 minutes. The data is downloaded wirelessly utilising a ‘receiver’ to a laptop computer. If pH levels are not right, it will indicate that something needs to be changed in the cattle’s diet. By analysing the acidity in the cow’s stomach you can identify digestive problems at an early stage and correct them promptly. This will improve the efficiency of milk production, with the consequence that you are more environmentally friendly - you need fewer cows and less feed to produce the milk required.

What is included:

The boluses come with:
  1. Operating instructions and software
  2. Calibration materials
  3. A 'reader' which plugs into a laptop to capture the data signals.

The need for a pH monitor in the dairy cattle sector

Up to 20% of dairy cows will develop acidosis in the period after calving. A condition known as sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA) may also be present in larger numbers of cows. The effect of this is to reduce milk fat and total output and in some cows to cause more serious disease such as ketosis, lameness, displaced abomasums, mastitis and sub-fertility. The cost of these diseases is estimated at $150-350 per cow affected.

What is SARA?

Sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is an increasing health problem in most dairy herds in the US and has been estimated to cost the US dairy industry between $500m and $1 billion per annum.

SARA is an increasing health problem in most dairy herds in the US. Results from field studies indicate a high prevalence of SARA in high-producing dairy herds as producers respond to the demands for increased milk production with higher grain, lower fibre diets that maximize energy intake during early lactation. The economic cost associated with SARA can be staggering. It is estimated that SARA costs the North American dairy industry between $500 million and $1 billion annually. The challenge for dairy farmers and dairy nutritionists is to implement feeding management and husbandry practices that prevent or reduce the incidence of SARA, even in high-producing dairy herds where higher levels of concentrate are fed to maximize energy intake.

The capability to monitor pH levels in a small number of cows within a herd will provide the farmer and veterinarian with important information which will be indicative of the state of health of the herd as a whole. If and when, the sentinel cows exhibit increasing acidosis (eg a rumen pH of less than 5.5) the farmer will be able to adjust his feeding strategy to avert the developing problem.