Cargill invests in animal facial recognition for smart farming

February 13, 2018 //By Rich Pell
Cargill invests in animal facial recognition for smart farming
Agricultural products giant Cargill (Wayzata, MN) has announced a strategic partnership with machine vision company Cainthus (Dublin, Ireland) intended to bring facial recognition technology to dairy farms around the world.

Using predictive imaging, Cainthus' software identifies individual animals based on hide patterns and facial recognition, and tracks key data such as food and water intake, heat detection, and behavior patterns to monitor the health and well-being of livestock. It then delivers analytics that help drive on-farm decisions that can impact milk production, reproduction management, and overall animal health.

"Our shared vision is to disrupt and transform how we bring insights and analytics to dairy producers worldwide," says SriRaj Kantamneni, managing director for Cargill's digital insights business. "Our customers' ability to make proactive and predictive decisions to improve their farm's efficiency, enhance animal health and well-being, reduce animal loss, and ultimately increase farm profitability are significantly enhanced with this technology."

Cainthus' imaging technology can identify individual cows by their features in several seconds, recording individual pattern and movements. That information is used as part of an artificial intelligence-driven mathematical algorithm that conveys imagery into feed and water intake analysis, behavioral tracking, and health alerts that can be sent directly to the farmer.

The data gleaned from those images is used to anticipate issues and adjust feeding regimens. This process, says the companies, when done manually used to take days or weeks, but now takes place in near real time.

"We are enthused about what this partnership will mean for farmers across the world," says 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."

Initially the companies plan to focus on the global dairy segment. In the coming months they expect to expand to other species, including swine, poultry, and aquaculture.

The partnership includes a minority equity investment in Cainthus from Cargill. This would

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