Sunday, August 14, 2022

Partnership opens AI door

Dairy farmers have another tool to help them gain efficiencies, be more productive and sustainable.

Fonterra has signed an agreement with Dutch startup company Connecterra, giving farmers the opportunity to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) technology in their herd management.

The agreement will see Connecterra’s Ida (Intelligent Dairy Assistant) platform available to farmers via Farm Source.

The platform uses AI to enable farmers and advisors to make better decisions that lead to a more efficient, productive and ultimately, sustainable dairy industry. The Amsterdam-based company has teams in New Zealand and the United States, a product presence in 18 countries and partnerships with industry leaders around the globe.

It combines behaviour data gathered by collar-mounted sensors, with data from internet-connected farm systems, farm equipment and third party sources to allow farmers better insights into their herd.

Ida then uses AI to translate the data into real-time, easy-to-understand insights in the app.

Users respond to insights with just a few taps. This feedback is processed using machine learning, allowing Ida to become smarter and more personalised for each farm over time.

The technology was trialled for two years on South Waikato farmer Chris Poole’s farm. Poole says he sees a clear difference in Ida and believes the technology can be a game-changer for Kiwi farmers.

“Ida’s technology is different. She learns about you and your farm. It’s easy to see the difference in our in-calf rates and animal health. There is so much potential for other farms in New Zealand,” Poole says.

The nationwide rollout began in South Waikato in August. With mating season for NZ dairy cows traditionally taking place in October, these early customers are already using Ida to help with tasks such as detecting heats and drafting for insemination.

Connecterra chief executive Yasir Khokhar says their goal is to empower farmers globally to increase productivity while reducing the impact of farming on the planet.

“After seeing strong, positive results during the pilot, we’re pleased to see Ida technology scale across New Zealand,” Khokhar says.

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