Connecterra digitizing dairy to improve animal health and efficiency of cows
Cow health is a key factor in dairy herd profitability, and producers are going digital to gain immediate access to real-time data that drives efficiency and optimizes production.
“Understanding the immediate impact of essential factors like weather, climate, and feed, as well as having the ability to detect and monitor calving, can mean the difference between making or losing hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Yasir Khokhar, Connecterra cofounder and CEO.
Based in the Netherlands, Connecterra has created an artificial intelligence (AI) that helps dairy producers monitor the health and well-being of their herds. Its AI-enabled dairy assistant, IDA, uses a motion sensor attached to a cow’s collar – in combination with data sources – to create actionable alerts around animal health, heat, and operational changes.
Because IDA understands the history and context of each cow, once a health issue is identified, it uses analytics to help producers diagnose and deal with it. This allows producers to detect illness, such as lameness, up to two days or more before the human eye recognizes there’s a problem. The more feedback IDA receives from producers, the better and smarter the system becomes.
“IDA uses deep learning and complex algorithms to process the data, which is then presented back to producers as easy-to-understand, actionable insights in an app,” Khokhar explains.
Available in 14 countries, including the U.S., IDA is enabled by MessageBird’s cloud communication technology. This allows IDA to send real-time updates and actionable insights to producers via SMS next to the alerts presented in the app.
“Before IDA, monitoring a herd was a 24-7 job,” Khokhar says. “We see farms getting bigger, and having an extra set of eyes in the form of IDA can help producers not miss a single thing regarding health and heat.”
By introducing wearable sensors, an AI-enabled platform, mobile app, and cloud communication, producers wake up to SMS notifications detailing specific cow behaviors – even if moving about in a pasture.
In a year-long study at two European farms, sick cows using IDA were diagnosed sooner and treated faster than those without the technology. “Not only did recovery times speed up, but also cows fitted with IDA required 50% fewer antibiotics than those without,” Khokhar says.
In East Africa, where the dairy industry is vital in the fight against malnutrition, producers with Bles Dairies (a Connecterra partner) reported spikes in milk production.
The real-time notification capabilities also helped them pinpoint and locate a lost and injured cow.
At Seven Oaks Dairy in rural Georgia, mobile monitoring, alerts, and updates allow Holstein cows and Jersey bulls to roam about the pasture, eating as they go.
The Van der Linden farm in Eindhoven, Netherlands, uses IDA to reduce the first calving age of its heifers from 25 months to 23 months. This resulted in an additional 55 days of milking and saved the farm nearly $9,500 to date.
onnecterra offers several subscription plans, including a per month/per cow plus a start-up fee per cow option to a per month/per cow with no start-up fee plan. MessageBird offers a pay-per-use platform that enables businesses to only pay for the resources used.
“Through our AI-enabled platform, Connecterra is digitizing dairy farms and improving cow health and farming practices to make farms more efficient and sustainable,” Khokhar says.
About the Company
Founders: Yasir Khokhar and Saad Ansari
Headquarters: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Background: Founded in 2014, Connecterra created IDA, an AI-enabled dairy assistant to help dairy producers better monitor herd health and operational processes.