App to make re­mote farm­ing the fu­ture

Hauraki Herald - - FARMING -

An agtech com­pany aims to give Waikato farm­ers the abil­ity to shift cow herds from the com­fort of their couch by the end of the year.

Hal­ter, founded by Mor­rinsville man Craig Pig­gott, had de­vel­oped a so­lar pow­ered band which uses an au­dio cue to di­rect cows, en­abling farm­ers to shift and man­age their herd re­motely.

The bands link to an app which acts as a por­tal for farm­ers to man­age their herd and farm data in­clud­ing cow health, feed and be­hav­iour.

Farm­ers were able to set sched­ules where herds are guided to-and-from the shed, re­ceive alerts when cows are show­ing signs of poor health or dis­tress, and set vir­tual fences along rivers and drains.

Its tech­ni­cal team was work­ing on mod­el­ling to op­ti­mise pas­ture and grass al­lo­ca­tion, en­sur­ing cows are re­ceiv­ing op­ti­mal pas­ture and dry mat­ter al­lo­ca­tions and im­prov­ing milk pro­duc­tion as a re­sult.

Hal­ter aimed to sup­port the modern farm by re­duc­ing the in­ten­sive hours farm­ers work, in­creas­ing milk pro­duc­tion, en­hanc­ing an­i­mal wel­fare and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

While the com­pany has plans to go global, its cur­rent fo­cus was in the Waikato.

Ad­vanced de­mand and pre­orders for the prod­uct had fu­elled the com­pany’s steep grow.

Hal­ter was look­ing to of­fer a num­ber of high-tech jobs in the Waikato in­clud­ing engi­neer­ing, data an­a­lysts and cow be­havioural ex­perts ahead of com­mer­cial roll-out start­ing later in the year.

Chris Bloom­field, who man­ages Hal­ter’s R&D farm,

was re­spon­si­ble for the de­vel­op­ment of the com­pany’s Cow­gorithms and runs Hal­ter’s Mor­rinsville team.

“The team at Hal­ter come from di­verse back­grounds. We have worked on race cars, at NASA and on elite sports tech­nol­ogy.”

“We’re also farm­ers and an­i­mal be­hav­iour ex­perts look­ing to use the best of tech­nol­ogy to im­prove the fu­ture of the in­dus­try.”

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