An Irish company enjoyed the media spotlight after making it into the World Ag Expo’s top-10 new products competition winners, showcased last week during the Expo in Tulare, California.
The CEO of Cainthus, Aidan Connolly, said he never had a day like it in his 28 years of farm shows, doing eight interviews, including six on live TV, and including the ABC, Fox, CBS, Brownfield, and Bloomberg channels.
The World Ag Expo draws more than 1,400 exhibitors, and an estimated annual average of 100,000 individuals from 70 countries, and Alus Nutrition by Cainthus, Dublin, flew the Irish flag in Tulare, with its computer vision and artificial intelligence system to passively monitor animals and their environment 24/7, analysing their well-being, productivity and performance.
Cainthus is described as a computer vision and artificial intelligence company based in Dublin, California and Ottawa.
It was set up in 2016 by David and Ross Hunt, from the family that owns Comex McKinnon, a leading Irish cereal importer and exporter.
Ross worked in accounting before he entered the family business, while David initially pursued a career in corporate banking.
The CEO of Cainthus, Aidan Connolly, was formerly Alltech’s chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts.
Alus Nutrition is based on smart cameras which make observations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with built-in artificial intelligence, making the system similar to a human’s ability to watch what is happening, and respond.
It is primarily designed for large herds kept indoors, as in the US. Its design is based on the idea of building up profiles of each individual animal’s signals and patterns of behaviour, feeding, drinking, lying down, or standing.
These change if an animal is sick, and the system could flag her to be checked, and the changes are picked up on camera. For example, Alus Nutrition independently monitors feeding and alerts the farmer when feed is inaccessible, and when feeding management practices need attention.
In this way, the farmer can ensure that cows have adequate access to feed and water.
But the cameras also observe nutritional, behavioural, health and environmental activities that can impact production, and Alus Nutrition translates the visual information into actionable insights that enable the farmer to make data-driven decisions to improve farm operations and animal health.
Included is easy-to-use software for delivering daily notifications to the farmer manager’s phone or computer, and detailed analytics that can inform actions to improve milk production and animal well-being.
According to the team behind Alus Nutrition, cows are clear communicators, if we know what to look for.
Comfort is central to the health and well-being of dairy cows, and though they may not have the ability to speak, they give out clear signals that can be observed, to alert the farmer to intervene if necessary. More and more farmers worldwide are turning to such technology, to help them watch over their business, even as labour shortages increase and herd sizes get bigger.
According to Cainthus, Alus Nutrition will soon to be followed by AlusBehaviour, aimed at delivering even more insights on the animal’s daily routine.