Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to have exploded into the mainstream and is already being applied across tons of agricultural uses. One area the technology holds particular promise is livestock farming where it can be used to keep track, inspect, and monitor the health of animals.
Traditional methods for these essential tasks rely on farmers and trained workers to regularly assess things like behavior and appearance, as well as various health aspects such as temperature, heart and lung sounds, and often diagnostic tests. Farmers also need to keep an eye on herds that are roaming pastures, particularly during calving, kidding, and lambing seasons. Several companies have developed systems that use artificial intelligence to perform these tasks, which can be more accurate than humans while also freeing up farmers and workers to support other areas of operation. Below are a few that we found:
Cainthus – This Irish startup was founded in 2015 and acquired by Texas-based agtech company “Ever.ag” in 2022. Cameras from Cainthus mount in dairy barns and proprietary software uses images to identify individual animals based on hide patterns and facial recognition. It then tracks key data such as food and water intake, heat detection and behavior patterns. The system can also detect when the animals are in heat. According to Cainthus’ site, the software is compatible with “all existing technology, including UAV, satellite, CCTV, and smart devices.” So far, their facial recognition technology is in use on farms in New York, California, and Canada.
CattleEye – CattleEye bills itself as the world’s first hardware-independent autonomous livestock monitoring platform. Using low-cost security cameras to capture video footage, the system analyzes animal movement patterns to detect lameness in cows earlier. This allows for impending or already occurred lameness can be automatically identified and treated in time. The solution can be installed in both new and existing farms with conventional as well as automatic milking systems.
Connecterra/Datamars – Powered by Google AI, Amsterdam-based Connecterra and Datamars provide another dairy-focused solution that uses collar-mounted digital sensors to monitor livestock movement and eating habits. Founded in 2014, Connectera’s “Ida” – short for intelligent dairy assistant – uses predictive AI to translate the data into real-time insights, which Connecterra says are easy to understand. Users respond to insights with just a few taps. This feedback helps make Ida “smarter” and more personalized for each farm over time. In a strategic partnership announced earlier this year, Connecterra sold the sensor business to Datamars, which will continue to develop and support Ida.
OneCup AI – Using Face ID for animals, OneCup can effectively identify livestock, then track health, growth, activity, etc. The platform is called BETSY, which is an acronym for Bovine Expert Tracking and Surveillance. BETSY can not only learn on its own to identify and track individual animals ranging from cattle, sheep, bison, and elk, to horses and even fish, it can also flag problems such as illnesses or abnormal behavior, according to the company.
Plainsight – Plainsight actually provides AI vision software solutions to numerous industries. The company’s solution for livestock is capable of pinpointing the number of any particular livestock, whether it be cattle, sheep or pigs in a given area, with 99.7% accuracy, according to Plainsight. The AI software can monitor transport and on and off loading, while automating animal detection and livestock accounts across multiple locations. The platform is scalable with camera technology that doesn’t require sensors attached to cows, and can be integrated into operational/financial systems.