Getting thousands of cows online

When Yasir Khokhar says he started Connecterra after a problem ‘stared him right in the face’, he’s talking literally. About five years ago, after a decade running Microsoft business units around the world, he found himself living on a farm in the Netherlands near Amsterdam, with a herd of cows outside his window.

“Around the same time a friend of mine actually quit investment banking to open up a dairy farm, and it was blatantly obvious to me that this is something which is hugely inefficient and in need of technology,” Khokhar told The Memo. He also spotted some curious features of the dairy market, like the fact that the only difference between a cow that produces 30 litres of milk a day or 10 litres of milk a day, is the health of the animal. If technology could make cows a little healthier, it could start a farming revolution.

It was that realisation which led him to found Connecterra and get more cows online. Today Connecterra has created an intelligent cow-monitoring system.It combines internet-connected sensors worn around cows’ necks, machine learning to crunch all the data, and an artificial intelligence called IDA which tells farmers what’s going on with their herd.“ For example, farmers need to know when cows are at the peak of their ovulation, so they can get pregnant, give birth and start producing milk. But the average farmer will miss that peak three times in a cow’s life, that’s 61 days of lost production,” says Khokhar.

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