Innovation in agriculture: Facial recognition for cows

Cainthus uses breakthrough predictive imaging to monitor the health and wellbeing of livestock. (PRNewsfoto/Cargill)

Cainthus and Cargill announce a partnership that will design and produce a visual tracking system for use in dairy facilities that will reshape how animal producers will make decisions about their livestock. The deal includes a minor equity investment from Cargill which has not been disclosed.

Cainthus uses breakthrough predictive imaging to monitor the health and well-being of livestock. Their proprietary software uses images to identify individual animals based on hide patterns and facial recognition, and tracks key data such as food and water intake, heat detection and behaviour patterns. The software then delivers analytics that drive on-farm decisions that can impact milk production, reproduction management and overall animal health.

“We are enthused about what this partnership will mean for farmers across the world,” says David Hunt, president and co-founder, Cainthus. “Cargill is a natural partner for us, given their focus on bringing a world-class digital capability to the market and their understanding of how technology will truly help farmers succeed.  We think this partnership will be a game changer for farmers because it will allow them to efficiently scale their business.”

The imaging technology that Cainthus has developed can identify individual cows by their features in several seconds to memorize a cow’s unique identity, record individual pattern and movements. That information is used as part of an artificial intelligence-driven mathematical algorithm that conveys imagery into feed and water intake analysis, behavioural tracking and health alerts that can be sent directly to the farmer. Data gathered from those images is used to anticipate issues and adjust feeding regimens. This is yet another prime example of how artificial intelligence is reshaping the world and taking what used to be a manual process that took days or weeks now takes place in near real-time.

“Our shared vision is to disrupt and transform how we bring insights and analytics to dairy producers worldwide,” says SriRaj Kantamneni, managing director for Cargill’s digital insights business. “Customers’ ability to make proactive and predictive decisions to improve their farm’s efficiency, enhance animal health and wellbeing, reduce animal loss, and ultimately increase farm profitability.”

Cargill is continually committed to investing in technology to deliver in the data and analytics space. Over the last year, they have announced several technology investments across the livestock, poultry and aquaculture terrain. They have locations in Ireland, the United States and Canada.

“It’s important for us to invest in emerging digital technologies that drive value for our customers and for the industry,” says Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director, Cargill Animal Nutrition.  “As an industry leader in this space, we are committed to using technology to address the biggest challenges facing the food system.”

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