AI technology allows farmers to monitor their cows online
Dutch firm Connecterra is putting a new meaning to the word ‘cash cow’ with the introduction of its Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant (IDA), which allows farmers to monitor their bovines at the comfort of their homes, or pretty much anywhere that is connected online.
After several years of pilot testing in Europe, Connecterra is now making the artificial technology to the United States – one of the biggest cattle producers in the world, according to the Associated Press.
The company said that IDA, which uses motion-sensors to monitor cows’ health and movement, is a new tool designed for the 21st century barnyard.
Attached to a cow’s neck like a collar, the IDA device can transmit progress of individual animal – including eating habits, diseases, and even mating behaviors which farmers could have easily missed when they are tending their herds.
With the help of IDA, farmers can now capitalize on the data being sent to them, which is previously impossible to do on an individual basis.
Since its launch in December last year, the Dutch AI tech was adopted by at least four major cattle farms in the mainland, with more farmers expressing interest in acquiring the device.
Meanwhile, fifth generation farmer Mary Mackinson Faber of Mackinson Dairy Farm in Illinois said that they have recorded production increase when they started using IDA.
The technology is efficient in sending information about individual cows that during birthing procedures, they were able to detect the slightest change in contractions of mother cows, therefore having more success births.
“It’s a great tool. But nothing can replace human intuition in determining what is good for our cattle,” she said. “The AI can help in certain tasks but it don’t think it can replace the human.”
AI is not new in other fields like journalism, manufacturing and healthcare. But in agriculture, the technology is relatively young and advantages in its uses are yet to be explored.
Other artificial intelligence now being developed in the agriculture sector, includes crop health monitoring, drone scanning and selective fertilizer input, which can identify and kills weeds that may otherwise be harmful to crops.