CATTLEytics is creating a dairy data software program designed to streamline barn management regardless of operation size.
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Data is generated to various degrees on many farms, ostensibly to help farmers make decisions. However, the journey to those answers often needs clarification.
Why it matters: Data from sensors is becoming more available to many Ontario dairy farmers but they sometimes need advice from experts in artificial intelligence technology to interpret it.
“The problem is, you often can get clues to what those decisions should be through the data, but you can’t do any more unless that data is stored in a way that can make it useable,” said Dr. Shari van de Pol, CATTLEytics founder.
“The intelligence is in the farmer. We’re just augmenting the effectiveness of that intelligence.”
Raised in rural southern Ontario, van de Pol’s post-academic life began in Northern Ireland as an IBM computer programmer, but several years later, she felt called to develop a system to help farmers take advantage of sensor-based data without being overwhelmed.
She went back to school, and founded CATTLEytics in 2014 after graduating with a degree in veterinary medicine. CATTLEytics’ aim is to connect animal health, technology and sustainability into applications that maximize efficiencies in cattle health and management and improve farm economics while reducing environmental impacts.
It’s clear from the Milkshake prototype unveiled at the 2023 Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show that CATTLEytics is expanding beyond task management into the broader spectrum of using dairy data to enhance herd health and profitability.
Milkshake is a herd health and fertility record-keeping app that will integrate into CATTLEytics’ existing Moo To Do software, which simplifies task management and ensures tasks aren’t unnecessarily duplicated or fail to meet the farm’s goals.
“Our goal for all of our products is to make sure they’re really robustly tested on farms before they’re fully released,” van de Pol said.
Breeding and heat detection can also be entered into the system.
The app establishes everyday herd health needs and treatment protocols, including heat detection and veterinarian-prescribed treatment protocols. Treatments or other herd health incidents are entered for each cow, so when a similar issue arises again, the producer or employee knows it isn’t the first time the cow has received treatment.
Van de Pol says the app uses “augmented intelligence” instead of “artificial intelligence,” allowing it to interpret input variations, regardless of who authored the record-keeping entries, to maintain continuity in the farm’s herd health or fertility decisions.
Atop the company’s display in the Outdoor Farm Show’s Dairy Innovation Centre was the slogan: “I can now provide the same individualized care to my thousand cows as my grandparents did for their fifteen.”
Van de Pol says Canadian farmers deserve a local source for knowledge and advice about data being collected on their farms independent of the big American data collection companies with an interpretation bias towards big American farm models.
“There’s such a range of dairy farms in Canada. Some have staff, some don’t. Some have a lot of technology, some don’t.”
Van de Pol encourages dairy farmers interested in testing Milkshake to contact her company through cattleytics.com.