Happy livestock with AI

Farmers play a crucial role in global food security, and now Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help them increase productivity with a happier herd. Meet IDA, the Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant.

Milking Machine in action at Dairy Campus WUR / Photography: Luca Locatelli for NL
Need for farmers

To provide sufficient food for the world population in 2050, food production will need to be increased by 60%. Much of the burden of delivering this agricultural growth will lie with farmers. However, the profession is less and less popular among younger generations, causing a chronic shortage within the sector. So, with the size of the herds continuing to grow, farmers have more work to do with less help available to do it.

Connecterra, a start-up company from the Netherlands, has come to the rescue by creating a solution that increases not scale, but efficiency. They developed an AI-based system that enables farmers to run a more productive farm without hiring additional staff.

Intelligent farmhand

Meet IDA, the Intelligent Dairy farmer’s Assistant. Through a combination of advanced sensor hardware and deep-learning algorithms, IDA creates patterns that spot irregular behaviour. For example, if a cow has not eaten for over 4 hours, IDA notifies the farmer via their smartphone or tablet. The animal concerned is identified, and farmers are given remedial suggestions. The system even helps to predict sickness of the animal. Helping diagnosed animals at an early stage reduces the use of antibiotics and veterinary costs.

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This article was first published on NLplatform.com on 5 February 2021.