(Left to right) Michael Christian Innovation Broker DDC, Philip Sharman Chief Executive Aspatria Farmers & Clyne Albertelli Managing Director Co-Lab Engineering.
Collaboration has proven the key ingredient in bringing an idea for innovative calf environment monitoring system into reality.
Funded and supported by the Digital Dairy Chain’s Innovation Voucher scheme; Aspatria Farmers, Co-Lab Engineering and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) teamed up to find a solution to the challenge of monitoring the ever-changing environment of calf sheds.
The data is expected to help determine the best housing conditions for calves. By allowing dairy farmers to assess pen conditions, the goal is to reduce pneumonia cases, leading to increased milk yields and enhanced farmer productivity.
Access to environmental data will allow farmers to mitigate the effects, with both quick fix solutions and longer-term improvements to the calf housing.
Healthy calves reared in optimal conditions go on to be cows that produce more milk over a longer period, making this innovative information system invaluable in both disease prevention and good cow welfare practise.
Speaking about the collaborative efforts led by Aspatria Farmers, Chief Executive Philip Sharman said: “The Digital Dairy Chain’s Innovation Voucher gave us the opportunity to develop the idea behind a ruggedised calf monitoring system and provide farmers with the preventative information they need to diagnose the pen, not the calf as has been the traditional method.
“The Digital Dairy Chain also facilitated the introductions to the right academics at SRUC and Clyne Albertelli from Co-Lab Engineering whilst guiding us all through the various stages from concept creation to developing the monitor prototypes which are currently under farm trial.”
Mike Christian, Innovation Broker with the Digital Dairy Chain, said: “As one of the first Innovation Voucher applicants, it’s been incredibly rewarding to assist the work all three organisations have done together and see an idea come into being and reach the next stage of product development.
“Collaborations like this, especially ones where start-ups such as Co-Lab Engineering are able to share their knowledge and expertise with the dairy industry, are the purpose of the vouchers and project as a whole.”