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Start-Up Spotlight: Krobel Corp

With many illnesses causing a hog’s respiration rate to increase, the founders of Krobel Corp are putting together a sensor that will track this rate and alert farmers. This device would be attached to a sow’s nose as she moves into a farrowing stall and keep track of her respiration rate over a period of time. 

How it works 
The data collected will be used to determine each sow’s average rate of respiration. When the rate is above its average for a prolonged period of time, the sensor will consider the hog potentially sick. Krobel Corp plans to have an LED light and a receiver on each of these sensors.

When a farmer goes to do a regular barn walk-through, a radio signal will be sent out to the sensors and the LEDs will light up on the potentially sick hogs. Currently, sick pigs are identified visually by the farmer during a hog check. This device limits human error and will ensure that any sickness is detected early.

They are also working on a way for the sensor to notify the farmer when a sow farrows, to cut down on unattended farrowing and piglet mortality. 

The idea 
Krobel Corp cofounder Kenny Strobel began developing this idea last August after watching the movie, The Incredibles.

“There’s a scene where a drone comes up to Mr. Incredible and tries to scan him,” says Strobel. “I thought something similar could fly over the pigs and scan their body temperature.” 

After pitching the idea to his cofounder, Ryan Kruse, during a game of basketball, the two decided sensors that track respiration rate would be much more sensible and cost effective for the farmer.

Right now, the pair is working on different types of design for the sensor, and they hope to have a prototype by the end of the summer. They want to ensure that it stays in place without being labor-intensive for the producer. 

“Design has been the biggest drawback,” says Strobel. “We want to be reducing labor, not adding it.” 

Initial testing of the designs will take place at Strobel’s family hog farm. Once they have a final design and hard data, the sensor will be tested at different hog farms in the Iowa and Minnesota areas.

The start-up is currently waiting on a few quotes for the price of this sensor, but affordability for the farmer is very important to them. They want to essentially save farmers money by reducing hog mortality rates. 

The Accelerator 
Krobel Corp is one of the five participants in the 2018 Iowa AgriTech Accelerator. They are using this opportunity to build a basic business plan and learn how to make their company efficient. Other goals are building their connections and finding people willing to guide them. 

Participants in this program spend 100 days in Des Moines working with mentors in the AgriTech industry. They also receive $40,000 in funding from the program’s sponsors in exchange for 6% in their business. This is Krobel Corp’s first source of funding. 

About the Company 
Company: Krobel Corp

Founders: Kenny Strobel and Ryan Kruse

Headquarters: Saint Clair, Minnesota

Background: Krobel Corp is working on a respiration sensor that will potentially decrease hog mortality rates. 


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