Cargill has taken a minority stake in Cainthus, an Irish startup that uses facial recognition software to increase the productivity of dairy cows.
Co-Founder David Hunt, says Cainthus uses machine-learning and imaging technologies to identify cows and glean animal information, such as behavior and feed consumption, says a recent Bloomberg article. The technology uses digital cameras for the software and monitors activity without wearable devices.
“We are enthused about what this partnership will mean for farmers across the world,” said 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 software provides analysis of both dairy and beef cows in facial/body identification, lameness detection, livestock activity and feed intake. The video images are used to identify individual animals based on hide patterns and facial recognition, and tracks key data such as food and water intake, heat detection and behavior patterns. The software can then alert farmers if a problem arises.
For several years, Cargill has been building a stronger presence in farm technology, and is looking for new ways to meet the challenges in agriculture, such as population growth, labor shortages and consumer concerns about how food is sourced and treated.
“It’s important for us to invest in emerging digital technologies that drive value for our customers and for the industry,” said 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.”
Cargill and Cainthus intend to first focus on the global dairy segment, but will expand to other species, including swine, poultry and aqua over the next several months.