Relitech knows how to monitor human expiration in different settings and for different purposes. And dedicated monitoring, that is what is missing in the daily practice at a farm. Therefore, we collaborate with – amongst others – Herman Kleinjan, farmer at Crumelhaeve. RTV Oost made an item on this project, see the movie below.
Also, with this project, we participated in the Humanimal – One Health Innovation Challenge 2015. See the pitch (in Dutch).
We won this challenge in the category ‘Best elaborated national idea of the Humanimal – One Health Innovation Challenge 2015’ and received the price from Jan-Nico Appelman, depute of the province Flevoland (see www.humanimal.nu for more information – page in Dutch). The jury report stated “The innovation of Relitech is smart and ‘basic’, it is about a real problem for cow and farmer… With this, Relitech enables innovative farmers with next level farming.”
Currently, milk tests are used to monitor the health condition of the cows on a monthly basis. In this way, it is signaled when a cow is malnourished, but mostly late. Consequently, the response of the farmer, for example warning a veterinarian that can do a blood test, is also late. By analysing the breath of individual cows automatically at multiple timepoints in the daily routine, the cows can be monitored more closely and individual cows can receive additional feeding if needed. With this fast measurement, the farmer is given a tool to control and reduce feeding and veterinary cost. Besides, the life of the milk cow can be extended which has a positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
For us, the biggest challenge is to take care that delicate and sensitive sensors can perform correctly in an environment which is not well controlled and which is dirty and dusty. Together with our partners (DKMS, Confed Systems and VKON), we developed a prototype that is running in the field for a couple of months now. Our focus was on the selection of the sensors, the design of the sensor box, the control by firmware and application software and testing of the devices.
First field tests have been performed to monitor the stability of the devices and gather data of dairy cattle. This resulted in more extensive, valuable insights in the dynamics of both the studied cows and the measurement system. The promising results lead into a new phase in which Relitech, VKON and the WUR joined their knowledge into a new project, subsided by EFRO: ‘Lange leve de gezonde melkkoe’. Aim of this study is to optimize and validate the algorithms that determine from the sensor data whether a cow is suffering from (an increased risk of developing) ketosis.