Well CowTM demonstrated the world's first technology platform for the fully automated sampling and measurement of bio-markers within cow milk based on many years of scientific and engineering research undertaken by the renowned agricultural engineering institute, Silsoe Research Institute, together with a number of academic and industrial collaborators.
Well CowTM has now also demonstrated the world's first automated continuous long term measurement of rumen pH in dairy herds using its unique wireless telemetry bolus system. This enables the dietary health of herds to be monitored and early indications of problems which will adversely affect milk yields to be identified.
In the future Well CowTM technology will have the potential to also deliver the automated detection and measurement of other health and disease markers. This technology together with the latest developments in Wide Area Network communications will provide farmers with immediate alerts on the status of their herds on PC's and mobile devices.
Having successfully developed its long life pH/temperature bolus, Well Cow is now developing a Reduction-Oxidation (Redox) bolus. We are expecting this to be available for sale in the second quarter of 2012.
From discussions with animal nutritionists we have learnt that Redox measurement is another key tool in managing diet and acidosis control.
The Well Cow sensor is essentially a monitoring tool that can work effectively in extremely harsh environments such as the cow’s rumen. As result it could potentially lend itself successfully to other industrial applications. With this in mind, Well Cow have established a collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University through the a Biosciences KTN SPARK Award to examine the feasibility of using the Well Cow bolus to monitor pH and temperature in fermenters.
Dr Alastair Sutherland from Glasgow Caledonian University is conducting research using rumen microbes and other microbiota to develop optimum inocula for the efficient anaerobic digestion of seaweed and other cellulosic materials such as grass in order to produce biofuels. This process requires critical monitoring of pH and temperature, which is currently achieved using very expensive fermenter monitoring systems. If effective, the Well Cow bolus could provide a cost-effective alternative.
With the increasing uptake of fermentation and biocatalytic processes by the chemicals industry, together with the already significant global capacity attributed to the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry, there is potential for this application to a market worth tens of millions of pounds and represents a significant potential additional market for Well Cow
Other – Re: The Technology
Changes in rumen pH have been linked to greenhouse gas production, with a single cow producing up to 200L of methane a day. By monitoring rumen pH and optimising diets, these emissions could potentially be reduced; making the dairy industry more environmentally, as well as economically, sustainable.