Cargill and Cainthus, a Dublin, Ireland-based machine vision company, announced that they are reshaping how animal producers make decisions for their livestock through a strategic partnership that will bring facial recognition technology to dairy farms across the world. The deal includes a minority equity investment from Cargill. Terms were not disclosed.
Cainthus uses breakthrough predictive imaging to monitor the health and well-being of livestock, according to the announcement. The proprietary software uses images to identify individual animals based on hide patterns and facial recognition and tracks key data such as food and water intake, heat detection and behavior patterns. The software then delivers analytics that can inform on-farm decisions affecting milk production, reproduction management and overall animal health.
"We are enthused about what this partnership will mean for farmers across the world," said David Hunt, president and co-founder of 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."
Cainthus' imaging technology can identify individual cows by their features in several seconds, memorizing a cow's unique identity and recording individual patterns 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.
Data gleaned from those images are used to anticipate issues and adjust feeding regimens. What used to be a manual process that took days or weeks now can take place in almost real time, the announcement said.
"Our shared vision is to disrupt and transform how we bring insights and analytics to dairy producers worldwide," said SriRaj Kantamneni, managing director for Cargill's digital insights business. "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."
Cargill and Cainthus intend to first focus on the global dairy segment but will expand to other species, including swine, poultry and aquaculture, over the next several months.
Cainthus is a machine vision company that turns visual information into actionable data. Its focus is on delivering technology that enables customers to make more precise farming decisions and on improving the efficiency and overall productivity of their operations.
Cargill said it is committed to investing in technology and cultivating talent to deliver innovation in the data and analytics space. Over the last year, Cargill has announced several technology investments across the livestock, poultry and aquaculture value chains, including Dairy Enteligen and iQuatic for aquaculture.
"It's important for us to invest in emerging digital technologies that drive value for our customers and for the industry," said Scott Ainslie, vice president and group director, Cargill Animal Nutrition. "As an industry leader in this space, we are committed to using technology to address the biggest challenges facing the food system."
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services worldwide. Cargill's animal nutrition business has more than 20,000 employees at more than 275 facilities in 40 countries and offers a range of compound feed, premixes, feed additives, supply chain and risk management solutions, software tools and animal nutrition expertise to feed manufacturers, animal producers and feed retailers globally.