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INTERVIEW ▶▶▶ Aidan Connolly, CEO of Cainthus


Feed tech zooms in on each cow


Dublin-based agtech firm Cainthus, founded in 2016, recently launched its bespoke feed technology that can monitor cows in real time, 24/7. CEO Aidan Connolly offers his views on technology, the future and gives us insight into what farmers think.


BY ZANA VAN DIJK, EDITOR DAIRY GLOBAL I


s it possible to monitor and manage each cow in the barn every single day? Yes, it is! Technology development, in general, is ac- celerating at such a fast pace that, before you know it, new and exciting technology will be available that can offer another di-


mension to managing a dairy farm. The speed of this development is undeniably surreal at times. ALUS Nutrition is Cainthus’s first product. Launched in February 2020, it relies on a smart camera system, which collects video data and evaluates the feeding behav- iour of each cow. ALUS Nutrition is a feed management system that observes, digitises and converts data into information, telling the


The ability to watch cows continuously has never been possible,but for the first time in history we now have that ability


farmer what is happening in real time as it monitors feeding 24/7. The system alerts the farmer when feeding management practices need attention. This technology allows the producer to input their specific feed management plan or create a new one. We talked to Aidan Connolly about this technology and more …


6 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 28, No. 3, 2020


ALUS Nutrition is an exciting launch for Cainthus; how long has the company had this vision? Four years ago, Cainthus had three founders, one whose PhD in- volved the facial recognition of people at airports. Based on the founders’ collective background in farming, they chose to focus on crops, and later cows. Although our technology was success- ful, we were very unsuccessful at creating a commercial product. The real challenge was connectivity. A year ago, we decided to change our focus to something we could scale up and use on farms, with the goal of being able to implement it on thousands of farms, i.e. with a million cows. In other words, something that was faster, simpler and that could be built affordably. That was a big decision, and the focus since has been entirely on the ALUS Nutrition product.


What are your thoughts on data-driven food production and its importance in a sustainable future? From my perspective there’s nothing more natural than a cow eating grass and other things humans can’t in order to produce meat and milk. No better way of converting grass into nutrition! But the sustainability of this is a question those of us involved with farming find ourselves answering all of the time. The ability to watch cows continuously has never been possible, but for the first time in history we now have that ability with ALUS; we have the potential to make the cow’s life better with cameras and to address sustainability. We are going to learn a lot. I can’t tell you that we can solve climate change, but the reality is that it will help – with data delivering information that we don’t have today. That’s what we need in order to solve agriculture’s biggest challenges.


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