Running the most efficient dairy farms with AI

Learning from livestock behaviour and developing patterns is the first step in making global agriculture more productive, humane and sustainable. Yet, before behavioural patterns for each individual animal can be developed, data on eating, rumination, walking, standing or laying must be analysed among other parameters and embedded in a user-friendly platform. The results are insights which help farmers to decide when issues are most relevant to be actioned.

At the forefront of this revolution is the Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant (Ida) from the Dutch company Connecterra. But don’t just take our words for it, this is what AgFunder’s chief investment officer Michael Dean said, after the platform has raised €4.2 million in Series A funding including a €1.7 million non-dilutive grant from the European Union: “Non-dilutive grant funding is always great to see in an investment, particularly when won against a strong competitive field as it was the case here. This underpins our view that Connecterra has the highest quality team and the most advanced technology operating in digital animal agriculture.”

Ida collects behavioural and farm data about the cows which is subsequently processed to detect health issues such as mastitis or lameness at least 24 hours before they become critical. Furthermore, Ida informs dairy farmers when cows are on heat to determine the best time for insemination or help to identify those with feeding issues and digestive disorders such as ketosis. In the near future, it will not only be possible to predict when a cow is expected to calve but also to identify the most efficient ones for breeding.
Through wearable sensors worn by the animals, Ida monitors changes on the farm and provides insights on the impact of respective changes on the behaviour of the cows. Lastly, automated learning algorithms constantly improve the product for the customers while farmers can contribute with feedback on how to solve issues effectively. “This validates our core thesis that farmers don’t care about data; they care about insights,” said Yasir Khokhar, CEO of Connecterra.

Such IoT solutions are not only suitable for larger industry clients. Connecterra has clients ranging from smaller farms to large industries such as Danone. The French food producer depends heavily on dairy products, thus currently improving the sector’s animal welfare, sustainability and efficiency. They are planning to build applications on top of Connecterra’s platform, according to Yasir Khokhar.

We are excited to see how Connecterra will contribute to a future where livestock, land, water, even the atmosphere are all connected to help humans make sense of the biosphere’s hidden internal language and we will follow closely to stay current.

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