Healthier Cows thanks to Big Data

trouw-healthier-cows-thanks-to-big-data

They could do worse, the staff of tech company Connecterra. They have been working for a week in the brand new Kraanspoor building in Amsterdam-Noord. With a dream view of the IJ.

“We also had to make a quick decision to move over here,” says Niels Molenaar of Connecterra. “But we fit well here and we had grown out of our coat and we are now 16, no, 17 people.” That’s how hard it is with the Dutch tech company, which employs from every corner of the world. Molenaar: “From Pakistan to Romania, they are the best people in the world in their field.”

That area is – data. Or more precisely: applying artificial intelligence to the behaviour of cows. Connecterra developed a sensor that follows the movements of a cow. The farmer fits the sensor around the neck of his cattle and with an app on his phone he checks how his cows are doing. You can make a lot of the way a cow moves. Molenaar: “Walking behaviour, eating behaviour, staggering, ruminating behaviour. If a cow is very active, chances are that the animal is draughty, but you can also see the behaviour of the cow if she is ill.”

Udder infection

Even udder inflammations can be traced with IDA (Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant). Molenaar: “Cows have a fairly standard behaviour, so from our behavioural data, farmers can fairly accurately assess what is going on. For example, farmers can set up the app so that the system gives a signal if a cow has a sore leg, to be able to find such a thing.”

Now that dairy farmers often have thousands of cows, due to economies of scale, an aid such as IDA for farmers is indispensable. After all, it is impossible to know 2000 cows. For the time being, the Amsterdam tech company is the only one in the world that can do this trick. That is why the service of Connecterra is not only popular with Dutch dairy farmers, but also large livestock farmers from other countries in Western Europe, in the USA, and Canada with IDA.

Note: The above text is directly translated from Dutch.

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