“We are fine tuning the product to get it ready for commercialization. We have installations on commercial farms [to trial it] and they are actively using the system and feeding back to Cainthus on how it could be [optimized],” Ricardo Daura, global product line director, Cargill Digital Insights, told us at EuroTier earlier this month.
Cainthus is a machine vision company with facilities in Dublin, Ottawa and San Francisco. The tracking system uses visual data and predictive imaging to follow the health and behavior of animals.
Once the system is installed in a barn, it is immediately able to offer pen-level analytics and information. With additional calibration is also provides cow-level details and information.
“The technology behind the artificial intelligence is pretty unique. One of the things that makes it unique is how scalable it is. The system will recognize different patterns, different movements, and different activities within an animal and will transform those into something that is meaningful for farming,” said Daura.
Feed consumption is one of the principal tracking targets for this technology:
“The fact that the technology can measure feeding practice - how the feed is distributed along the line, and how the feed is consumed in the feed bunker - really helps feed producers to [know] that when they provide feed and nutritional products to the farmer, that feed is well distributed, is well prepared and is consumed by the cows so the intake is at the right levels to [enable the] production that we would expect at that farm.”
Daura said Cargill has defined digital technology as a key capability that it needs to support its customer base, and that factor prompted it to take a minority stake in Cainthus.
“For animal nutrition, digitalization is about connecting a farm with all the different data it needs to make decisions, and [so we look to] invest in technologies that are bringing better, more accurate and more timely information, and Cainthus fits very well into that. “
While the companies initially intend to focus the technology on the dairy segment, the aim is to eventually expand its use to beef and to other species, including swine, poultry and aqua.