Background: 15 years ago the VATEM video based optometric system was created for the
body measurement of populations kept extensively. Since then with the VATEM1 software
we have measured 10 thousand animals (cattle, buffalos, sheep, horses, dogs) in seven
countries. We would like to introduce a safe, fast, inexpensive and effective method which
might become one of the new tools of optometric 2D multidata phenotyping.
Objectives: We would like to show how the VATEM system works, and we would like to
introduce the VATEM2 software (vatem.univet.hu) through the body measurement of the
2-year-old Hungarian Grey bulls bred in Sarród, sold at the 2016 bull fair. The description of
the VAM field work (making the video footages) and the operation of the VAM2 software.
Materials and Methods: In 2016 11 2-year-old breeding bulls were admitted to the cata logue of the Association of Hungarian Grey Cattle Breeders (MSzTE), and we have measured
the body parameters of these animals. The first step of the VATEM method is the field work, during which we make video footages of the walking animals. The cameras making
the footages from above and from the side are placed as far away as possible, in order to
reduce perspective distortion. The animals are identified using ear tag ID screens. Before
recording the animals, we record the standards, too. In the software phase from the foot ages we select standard images showing a standard posture. After that we specify the
body parameters to be measured in schemes, and with the help of the standard image we
define the pixel-centimetre ratio. By marking the anatomic points we perform optometric
measurements, and on the standard images we create the measurement frames, where
the real-life parameters are also inscribed. The sizes can be saved in an Excel spreadsheet.
During the measurements the video footages were made at an average 100 animal/hour
speed, while the software measurement frame is created in 8 minutes.
Results and Discussion: Today genotyping is developing at a breakneck speed, however
phenotyping is developing quite slowly. With the VATEM method, which is a safe and fast
way of generating a big amount of phenotypic data on appearance, we intend to counter
the above imbalance, as such an imbalance can hinder scientific advances. This is because
genetics can only become really effective with the help of a big amount of phenotypic data
on appearance and breeding, and by examining the animal as a whole. In the future the
VATEM2 program will serve a simple and free tool for phenotyping, and it will be capable of
processing a bigger amount of data, thereby somewhat accelerating the process of phe notyping. However, phenotyping also needs completely new methods, such as geometric
morphometrics and real time 3D animal models.||en_US