Cowlar, a Pakistani startup firm has received 1 million rupees in prize money after winning the Pakistan Startup Cup, ProPakistani reported
Cowlar has invented a smart collar for cows that uses motion sensitive technology to tell farmers when a cow is in heat, and can aid in optimisation of milk production.
It also helps farmers know when a cow is unwell and requires medication.
“The biggest thing we’re trying to capture is when a cow is in heat,” Cowlar Co-Founder Umer Adnan, who is trained in mechatronics and electrical engineering, told Mashable.
“If farmers miss the heat cycle then the next cycle comes after 21 days. If you miss that, you’re missing out on 21 days of milk production, which is valued at about $400.”
Cowlar trials in Pakistan have managed to increase milk yields between 8-14 per cent, Umer claims.
Pakistan is the fourth-highest milk producing nation with an estimated 42 billion litres of milk produced annually, according to Mashable. The industry, one of the largest in the country, has about 63 million animals producing milk with over 8m households involved.
Despite this, production is abysmally low at an estimated 4-5 litres per day during the lactation cycle of a cow, compared to the United States where cows yield an average of 32 litres per day.
The size of the global market is approximately $400bn, Umer said.
The technology may be useful for both small and large-scale farmers. For large-scale farmers, the product comes with an online dashboard that can be used to track an animal’s health and behaviour, sending a message to the dashboard every time a worker is advised on how to treat an animal or the heat cycle.
Small-scale farmers are provided the text message service but not the dashboard.
“Farmers don’t find the change instantly — this is about working with them and changing their behaviour,” explains Umer. “If they follow our advice they’ll see changes after a month or so.”
The startup has so far been able to sell 1,000 units and received interest from foreign markets, including Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and Scotland.