February 9, 2022
Erin Fay

AI Takes Over the Cows

CattleEye was founded in January 2019 by Terry Canning who is the son of a dairy farmer in Northern Ireland. He formed a team with five other data science and development guys, and they began working on products that livestock farmers would be able to use. They are using the newest AI powered video analytics to help the next generation of farmers improve the lives of their animals.

Livestock farmers have to constantly watch how their animals are eating, sleeping and just walking around. The goal of Terry Canning is to “completely replace any manual watching of these cows.”. The purpose of the AI technology would be to detect early signs of lameness in cattle. The lameness can cause cows to produce less milk because they have an injury or infection that causes them pain. If the lame cow goes untreated because the farmer misses the sign, the cow can be killed.

Around 20,000 cows are being monitored by CattleEye. The Welsh governments Farming Connect scheme, found one dairy farm with 300 cows being watched by CattleEye had mobility issues fall from 25.4% to 13.5% after six months.

Many farms however are not willing to accept this change. Dr. Sarah Lloyd who runs a rural farm in Wisconsin, told BBC that “The cost of technology just can't be borne by our milk price.”. There are many small-town farmers that prefer to roll up their sleeves and put in the work rather than trust a machine. Dr. Llyod talks about how difficult it can be to find workers, but she believes it's important for the economic and social life of the community.

On the other hand, there are several bulk barns that have shifted their sleeves up mentality to robotics and they believe the cows are better off and even happier. Some predict that in about 50 years, 90% of human labor on farms will be replaced by machines.

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