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Putting the AI in dairy – Fonterra agrees deal with Dutch start-up Connecterra

Fonterra has signed a deal with Dutch-based company Connecterra to deliver insights to Kiwi dairy farmers using artificial intelligence. The agreement will be sold through Fonterra’s retail division, Farm Source.

Connecterra’s Ida (Intelligent Dairy Assistant) platform combines behavior data collected via proprietary collar-mounted sensors with data from internet-connected farm systems, farm equipment and third-party sources. Ida then uses artificial intelligence to translate the data into real-time, easy-to-understand insights in the app. Users respond to insights with just a few taps. This feedback is processed using machine learning, allowing Ida to become smarter and more personalized for each farm over time.

Today’s announcement follows the completion of a successful two-year trial at Cloverlea Farm in August, a split calving farm in South Waikato. Owner Chris Poole sees a clear difference in Ida and believes the technology can transform farming in New Zealand.

“Ida’s technology is different. She learns you and your farm. It’s easy to see the difference in our in-calf rates and animal health. There is so much potential for other farms in New Zealand,” said Poole.

The nationwide rollout began in the South Waikato region in August. With mating season for New Zealand dairy cows traditionally taking place in October, these early customers are already using Ida to help with tasks such as detecting heats and drafting for insemination.

“Our goal is to empower farmers globally to increase productivity while reducing the impact of farming on the planet. After seeing strong, positive results during the pilot, we’re pleased to see Ida technology scale across New Zealand,” said Yasir Khokhar, CEO of Connecterra.

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