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Monday, May 4, 2015

Digital daisy ~ the cow with bar code !!!

Stray cattle still roam in Triplicane, despite the new arrangement – hope that over the period of time, this too will settle down.  Over the recent decades, residents are not buying milk from individual cattle owners – it is ‘Aavin’ and other branded ones …… Aavin supplies in the morning and afternoon at specified booth to cardholders – the rest can be bought in many shops at a little higher price.  Aavin is the trademark of the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation Limited, a Tamil Nadu-based milk producer's union.  Aavin procures milk, process it and sells it in retail across Tamilnadu.  The Dairy Development Department was established in Tamil Nadu in the year 1958; was replaced by the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited in the year 1981.  Aavin has four dairy plants located at Ambattur, Madhavaram,  Sholinganallur and Ambattur. The last one is a Product diary which is also engaged in the manufacture of milk products such as Yogurt, Ice Cream, Khova, Gulabjamoon, Buttermilk, Curd and Mysorepak.   Do you know that every Aavin milk cover carries info.  on where it was manufactured ?

Remember when we used to buy articles like toys and others,  the shop owner would look at its base and tell the price – also would discount it by say 10% giving a false sense of reduced rate.  A friend of mine, who ran a shop, once told me that they would write codes representing values at the base to know the price at which they would sell !  - now Supermarkets and all big shops use the barcode which is scanned, read and price printed in the bill, which people generally do not care to check !

A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data relating to the object to which it is attached. Originally barcodes systematically represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines; later they evolved into rectangles, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns in two dimensions (2D).  Their simplicity, universality and low cost have ensured their success.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan. A QR code uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, and kanji) to efficiently store data; extensions may also be used. The QR Code system became popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and general marketing.  A QR code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device (such as a camera) and processed using Reed–Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted.

If you ever thought such QR codes are restricted to supermarkets, you would be surprised that about a couple of years back, even a dairy cow was spray-paitned with QR code.   Perhaps the  Friesian cow ‘Lady Shamrock’ was the first one to have the code that could be scanned by phone, linked directly to a blog of her daily routine. Lady Shamrock lives on the family-run farm where she is looked after by farmers Jane and Mark Barnes. She worked with dairy farmers’ organisation DairyCo to trial the code, which is believed to be the first of its type.  Lady Shamrock is special producing about 30-40 litres of milk every day – she is not the lone ‘digital daisy’.

It is claimed that the idea behind the digital bar-codes at Southfields farm in Somerby, Leicestershire, is to give consumers more information about their cows’ lives. Passers-by can scan the QR code using an app on a smartphone and get quick access to a website which contains information about the farm’s 100-strong herd of dairy cows.  Scanning the cow with your smartphone will give you details of it's milking time, favourite foods and how it is cared for by the farmers

Alongside Shamrock, the cows at the Southfields farm in Somerby, Leicestershire have had a hi-tech makeover.  The  QR Code is sprayed on them using a special paint specially developed for animals, and can be brushed off at the end of the day.  Mrs Barnes of stated: 'After we had applied the code for the first time, Lady Shamrock went out into the field and the other cows couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing - they all came up to her to have a look and sniff.

We drink billions of litres of milk every year in Britain but may not necessarily reflect on all the work farmers do to make that happen.'   The farm has tested their idea out on their cows and scanners will  direct  to to find out more about the animals and other information.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Apr 2015
Photo and news credit :


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