Image labelling to detect mastitis in cows

06-02-2020 | |
Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

In order to provide solutions to milking cattle in India, Haryana based startup MoooFarm is developing a platform that can help dairy farmers detect mastitis in cattle through ‘image labelling’.

The company has also received help from US-based software giant, Microsoft, which has granted USD $15,000 to start working on this platform.

Mastitis – financial loss

Mastitis disease cause Indian dairy farmers a loss of USD $500 million annually, as farmers often do not realize that the cattle have been affected by it, MoooFarm co-founder Aashna Singh said

Aashna said that the platform will use machine learning to solve the problem. A farmer will have to click the photos of the udder and milk; the app will then detect if the cattle are afflicted by the disease.

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Even if one cow gets affected by mastitis, it causes a loss of US $80 per month to a farmer. This loss occurs due to factors such as lower production, poor quality, and veterinary expenses.

India is the largest milk producer in the world with over 187 million tons of milk output recorded during 2018-19.

Launched in February by Indian Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the MoooFarm app helps track the health, productivity, and breeding cycle of cattle.

Use across India

Having started from Sangrur in Punjab state with 100-150 dairy farmers, the company is looking to cater to 200,000 farmers in the coming months, as five states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Haryana have shown interest in the application.

Under this, the company has developed a mobile application and roped in over 2000 farmers across a few villages, where feedback is exchanged to understand the problem. This feedback will help us create a the solution, so that farmers save their livestock from such disease, MoooFarm co-founder Param Singh said.

The company is also working on having a live feature on the application, where the farmer can get real-time help from a vet or an expert. Currently, it also has on-the-ground staff in villages, called Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) to oversee 100-150 farmers. The VLE help and educate farmers on best practices.

As per an estimate, India has over 75 million dairy farmers spread across over 28 states and eight union territories.

Operating on a B2B model, the company is looking to connect with corporates, dairy cooperatives, milk companies, and governments to reach farmers.

Taking this forward, the company has recently signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Maharashtra’s Prabhat Dairy to collaborate on increasing farmer income. It has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Google and Tata Trusts’ Internet Saathi programme to train women farmers.

Singh said that the company aim is to increase the income of 200,000 farmers by 2020. And for this, we will utilise cloud technology to reach even farmers who are far off.

According to a study by Research and Markets, co-operatives and private dairies have access to only 20% of the milk produced, and 34% of milk is sold in the unorganised market while 46% is consumed locally.

However, this will change in the months to come as numerous startups riding on demand for fresh milk, including Milkbasket, MilkMantra, Mr Milkman, Woohoo Milk, Country Delight, and others have started operations.

Jagdish Kumar Freelance journalist