The Task

Design an artificial and portable cow for training insemination techniques that could be easily assessed in a classroom environment.

Can an artificial cow provide a better learning opportunity?

Traditionally, Artificial Breading technicians are trained on cull cows at the freezing works. Trainers feel uncomfortable using live animals for training with the lack of ability to visually confirm that the trainee’s technique is to standard.

Creating an anatomical, visually and sensually correct representation was key to delivering effective training. Careful consideration was given to material, texture and temperature to emulate muscle, sinew, membranes and faeces. Although trialled, the line was drawn at smell.

Early prototypes were subjected to months of trials. The design was refined with side by side comparison testing with live animals.

We realised that while aiming high with simulation perfection, our cows were there to enhance the learning and build confidence before live animals were introduced to the trainee.

The artificial cows have answered a long standing problem of maintaining and improving technique in the time lag which occurs between training and the dairy mating season even among seasoned technicians.

Use of the artificial cows have meant LIC has minimised the use of cows at the end of their lives. That’s something which everyone in farming cares about.