Bles Dairies has been active in consultancy activities in East Africa for many years. To service customers in East Africa from a short distance and in every aspect of the dairy value chain, we established Bles Dairies East Africa Ltd in 2016.
Africa’s growing (youth) population and demographic developments have lead to a high demand for milk and dairy products. The East African dairy sector does have large potential, but at the moment its insufficient capacity has casused a huge gap between supply and demand.
IDA x Bles Dairies EA
It is acknowledged that dairy is a strategic factor in the movement of populations out of poverty. The development of the dairy sector will fight malnutrition and increase incomes of the smallholder farmers. The possibility to achieve results does exist but challenges in the dairy sector still remain. To face these and to keep up with the quick developments in the fast-emerging East African dairy market, we established a local presence in Kenya.
Headquartered out of Eldoret, Kenya, Bles Dairies East Africa is currently carrying out a pilot project for the Intelligent Dairy Farmers’ Assistant (Ida). We decided to start on three different dairy farms in the region and expand from there. Since the moment of installation of IDA, the farmers have not only experienced an increase of milk production and more accurate heat detection, but it has also made supervision on the farm much easier.
The Ida sensors monitor different behaviours of the cow, such as eating, ruminating, laying, walking, lameness, standing and drinking. The data is then analysed in the cloud where it is translated into actionable insights. These are then conveyed over to the farmer in alerts through the app with three key elements in mind: Heat, health and feed.
Since the start of the pilot project the farmers have noticed significant changes. For example, at Illula Farm, where manager John Magut is enthusiastic about the new technology that makes use of artificial intelligence. “I am amazed to see how Ida monitors the behaviour of my cows. The observations I used to make with the naked eye are only a small part of what is really going on with the cows! The Ida technician could even tell me at what time we feed our cows, only by looking at the activity graphs.”
Illula Farm has experienced an enormous increase in milk production in 2018. Ida showed the farmer for example that their cows ate less while outside the barn due to lower quality feed. With the assistance of Ida, monitoring the rumination and eating patterns of the cows, the farmer was able to change the feed rations and therefore improved the feed condition of the cows.
At another pilot farm – Seregon Farm, the feed rations have also been adjusted since Ida showed them that there was a lot to be gained from improving the rumination time.
The farmer has changed the chopping size of the fodder and reduced the amount of concentrates in the feed. These small modifications have improved the condition of the cows overall. “Besides that, Ida has not only helped us improve the heat detection but also shows early signs of health issues,” explains veterinary Ms. Winny Chebii. “We were able to notice a cow had been trapped in a cubicle because Ida showed us that the cow had been laying for hours. From far away the cow looked okay but from up-close we discovered bruises, caused by struggling with the cubicle metals.”
Click here to request an Ida demo.