In the distance the sun is warming up the Sussex Downs; this is the countryside, this is England. If Andrew Murray and Cliff Richard rode past my window on a tandem and waving it wouldn’t be a surprise.
But back to milk and how wearable technology is producing better milk on our doorsteps. Eight million people in the UK now sport wearable technology, but animals wear it as well.
One such technology is something called MooMonitor, a necklace worn by cows that monitors cows’ health and fertility. Its owners describe it as ‘dairy SatNav’ and say that the MooMonitor’s technology is replicated in rockets and torpedoes.
The company that uses the technology, Dairymaster, is not a trendy London start-up, it is a company based in county Kerry that was founded in 1968 and now is using technology to increase the efficiency of its farm animals.
The company employs 300 people in Kerry and a total network of more than 600 personnel around the world selling, installing and servicing their products. More than 75% of its production is exported and Dairymaster have customers in more than 40 countries, including the US, Germany, UK, Japan, New Zealand and Russia. Who knew?
Its range of automated feeding systems identifies each animal in the herd via a chip in the cow’s ear tag and a Smart Feeder System that provides custom-feeding to cows during their dry period.
The MooMonitor necklace connects to The Cloud and its consequent data ensures the correct allocation of energy and minerals within the animal’s feed and this results in fewer health issues for the dairy herd and improved milk yields.
Its Technical Director, Dr Edmond Harty, joined the family business in 1998 and probably knows more about mik than anybody else in Europe. Not only does he know about milk, he was also named the international Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 and describes MooMonitor as ‘measuring friskiness’.
“The challenge was how to monitor the behaviour of every cow in a herd day and night. The solution was wearable technology. What we figured out was that it would be possible to include accelerometers, mobile and WIFI components, a decent bit of computing power and the software to run on it and could result in a single piece of technology that each cow could wear, that’s the MooMonitor. What it does from a practical point of view is measure friskiness.
“More precisely, it measures how and how much a cow moves, the single best indicator of whether a cow is ready to get pregnant. This is vital because regular pregnancies are what keep dairy cows producing milk. Each time a farmer misses out on such an opportunity it costs him or her €250. Dairymaster is all about applying the latest gizmos and technology to make a real difference in dairy farming,” he says.
The recurring pregnancy of cows isn’t something that immediately springs to mind when bringing in the milk from the doorstep, but such an entrepreneur’s mindset and a challenge to increase yields appears to be successful.
Using MooMonitor means that a cow can be milked an average of one minute faster, delivers 5% more yield and maximises everything… presumably a happy cow also produces happier and better milk.
So, that pint of milk on the doorstep is more than just a pint of milk. It is a technological piece of genius produced by great minds via animals that get recurrently pregnant and wear a necklace. Now you know.
Source: The Telegraph