Machine learning approaches to predict and detect early-onset of digital dermatitis in dairy cows using sensor data

Jennifer Magana, Dinu Gavojdian, Yakir Menahem, Teddy Lazebnik, Anna Zamansky, Amber Adams-Progar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study aimed to employ machine learning algorithms based on sensor behavior data for (1) early-onset detection of digital dermatitis (DD) and (2) DD prediction in dairy cows. Our machine learning model, which was based on the Tree-Based Pipeline Optimization Tool (TPOT) automatic machine learning method, for DD detection on day 0 of the appearance of the clinical signs has reached an accuracy of 79% on the test set, while the model for the prediction of DD 2 days prior to the appearance of the first clinical signs, which was a combination of K-means and TPOT, has reached an accuracy of 64%. The proposed machine learning models have the potential to help achieve a real-time automated tool for monitoring and diagnosing DD in lactating dairy cows based on sensor data in conventional dairy barn environments. Our results suggest that alterations in behavioral patterns can be used as inputs in an early warning system for herd management in order to detect variances in the health and wellbeing of individual cows.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1295430
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Magana, Gavojdian, Menahem, Lazebnik, Zamansky and Adams-Progar.


The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This study was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digitization, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2021-0027, within PNCDI III. During the trial’s implementation, DG received support to join Washington State University through a Romanian – U.S. Fulbright Visiting Scholar grant. We thank the Washington State University Knott Dairy Center staff for providing assistance during data collection.

FundersFunder number
U.S. Fulbright
Corporation for National and Community Service
Washington State University
Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si InovariiPN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2021-0027
Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation


    • animal behavior
    • dairy cattle
    • digital dermatitis
    • machine learning
    • sensor data


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