Hardware + AI Modelling + Analytics Software

DairySmart – AI-Powered Mastitis Detection

About the project

Who are DairySmart?

DairySmart, headquartered in North Canterbury, is led by a team with extensive experience in both farming and veterinary practices.

They have developed an exceptionally precise method for identifying mastitis pathogens in individual animals, allowing for personalised diagnoses for each cow.

This approach leads to more targeted treatments, which in turn helps to minimise the use of drugs and combat antibiotic resistance.


How to scale diagnosing cows from 100 to 100,000 within 3 years

DairySmart had developed an innovative approach to diagnose mastitis pathogens in individual cows.

However, their manual diagnostic procedures limited their capacity to efficiently sample and diagnose a large number of cows.

They were looking for a solution to facilitate their business growth in response to increasing demand.


How we did it

To tackle DairySmart’s scaling challenge, Intranel embarked on an in-depth investigation to pinpoint the obstacles and manual steps in their processes.

By thoroughly examining the entire process, from sampling to diagnosis, we uncovered crucial areas where technological improvements were needed.

This investigation emphasised how important technology was in resolving problems linked to sample accuracy and manual handling.


Accurate cow identification

We recognised that relying on visually identifying cows through ear tag numbers often resulted in errors, both in identifying the cows and in recording and transferring the tag numbers in subsequent steps.

To address this challenge, we developed custom hardware—a scanning wand capable of reading a cow’s unique ear tag from distance and transferring the tag information to the sample container.

This was particularly crucial as these tasks needed to be performed within the milking shed, where accessing the tags was not easy.


Custom imaging equipment

Consistency in image capture, even in varying lighting conditions, was critical for project success. To ensure this, we created and implemented custom hardware that could seamlessly adapt to both lab and on-farm environments. This innovation significantly bolstered the reliability of diagnostic data.

Considering the significant volume of samples DairySmart aimed to diagnose, we identified that Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a crucial component to assist with the diagnosing process.

To make this integration feasible, ensuring consistent image quality under varying lighting conditions was key.

To achieve this, we developed and built custom hardware tailored to this purpose, allowing it to be used in both lab environments for comprehensive herd testing and on-farm applications for more targeted testing.


AI-enhanced diagnosis

Intranel incorporated AI into the diagnostic process, training it to conduct preliminary diagnoses and substantially reducing the time needed for expert microbiologists to validate the results. This automation significantly sped up the time taken by an expert to diagnose the results.


AI-Powered mastitis detection to support exponential growth

Intranel’s solutions resulted in significant achievements for DairySmart:

  • DairySmart’s diagnostic capabilities expanded from a few hundred samples in 2020/2021 to over 40,000 samples in a six-week period in 2023.

  • Looking ahead to 2024, DairySmart anticipates processing over 100,000 samples in a six-week period.

  • This exponential growth has enabled DairySmart to better serve local farmers and embark on an expansion throughout New Zealand.

Let's work together

Ready to take your project to the next level? Get in touch with our team to get expert feedback and project estimates.