Feeding on too much rapidly digestible carbohydrate fodder and insufficient fibre can give dairy cows ruminal acidosis, an excess of acid in the rumen, which depresses their appetite and, ultimately, milk production.
Working with Well Cow, TTP has developed an ingestible wireless bolus that continuously monitors pH and temperature conditions in the rumen, the first stomach of cattle. This data allows farmers to monitor the digestive health of each animal and to adjust their feed if signs of ruminal acidosis are detected.
The Well Cow system comprises the patented bolus which transmits pH and temperature data to a receiver handset that can upload the data to a cloud-based server, for example. Farmers use the Well Cow system to optimise the feed of their herd and consequently improve production efficiency and the profitability of their business.
Well Cow achieved CE compliance certification for the bolus and associated reader in 2014.
As the bolus needs to perform in a highly abrasive environment and sensor data needs to be reliably read out over a distance of meters, the technology may well have applications in other industries.
The main shareholders in Well Cow are the Roslin Foundation, TTP and the Genomia Fund.