Ida is created by a Dutch company Connecterra, which is using TensorFlow, Google’s AI software. The data for Ida is generated from collars the cows wear. It can detect when a cow is eating, drinking, ruminating, sleeping and walking. All of those data points are digested by Ida and TensorFlow to give the farmer a readout of where his cows are, health-wise.
When we visited Watson’s farm, he found three of his cows were targeted by the app for showing signs that they were sick, and one was possibly in heat. He said the app saves him a “massive amount of time.”
“We would like for heat detection, for example, literally, we would have to go through all 2,000 cows on a daily basis and check each one individually,” Watson said.
But Watson recognizes the app is not a replacement for him and his workers. “Technology doesn’t compensate for poor farming,” he emphasized.
“At the end of the day, you still gotta be a good farmer. What the technology enables you to do is become more efficient — perhaps diagnose things quicker. And — and treat things quicker. And that’s more important when you have several thousand animals.”
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