Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Oh no, they've learned how to text!

Who knows what they'll do next!

Swiss Cows Send Texts to Announce They’re in Heat

ZOLLIKOFEN, Switzerland — When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the future. Now, Mr. Oesch tends a herd of dairy cattle and carries a smartphone wherever he goes. Occasionally he gets an SMS from one of his cows.

That is because Mr. Oesch, 60, who cares for a herd of 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, is helping to test a device that implants sensors in cows to let farmers know when they are in heat. When that is the case, the device sends an SMS to the farmer’s phone. The Swiss do not settle for half measures: the SMS can be in any one of Switzerland’s three main languages — German, French and Italian — plus English or Spanish.

If there is anything to be learned from this project, which will bring the devices to market early next year, it is that Heidi’s world of goats — or cows — placidly grazing in Alpine meadows is gradually becoming the stuff of storybooks.


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