CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Cost-efficient, 35 seconds, comprehensive mastitis management system for dairy farmers and veterinarians

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MastCloud (Cost-efficient, 35 seconds, comprehensive mastitis management system for dairy farmers and veterinarians)

Berichtszeitraum: 2016-03-01 bis 2016-06-30

MastCloud provides real-time Animal Health and Milk Quality data on a Cloud-based analysis and sharing platform for mastitis control for Dairy Farmers, Veterinarians and other players in the dairy supply chain. On dairy farms, mastitis or udder inflammation often is the most common disease and the major reason for antibiotics use.

Bulteh-2000 Ltd. focusses since 19 years on milk analysis via its range of popular Ekomilk instruments while its partner AMPI Ltd leads the development of Cloud-based automation solutions. As explained in the business plan elaborated during phase 1, MastCloud can create around 30 full-time positions inside our companies besides around 800 indirect jobs in the dairy eco-system in Europe and similar on other continents.

MastCloud consists of:
• a mini-lab which performs the milk analysis measurement via combining sensor modules. Less than 0.03 euro/test and with a high correlation coefficient as proven during phase 1.
• a Cloud-based solution with data collection module, automated dashboards and remote diagnosis module, combining data from databases, instruments and touchscreen inputs.
• peripherals for automation and integration: an automatic sample feeder, RFID and barcode reader integration for cow and sample vial identification, an external keyboard and a milk weighing scale integration unit.

During phase 1 we defined the 5 relevant market segments and their specific requirements. Based on these segments we developed a product roadmap with 3 main product models. The market potential is actually larger than we initially estimated. We received a dozen Letters of Intent from reliable channel partners with purchasing estimates which clearly exceed our first year sales projections.

Our Business Model is based on own manufacturing and equipment sales via an online platform (eCommerce) and local channel partners. Our company already invested a significant amount to date in MastCloud. With 1.8M€ of financial support in phase 2, MastCloud will reach a high maturity level (TRL8 or 9) in all relevant market segments. Phase 2 will allow our companies to become a market leader in the growing markets of animal health and milk quality management. With a realistic cumulative EBITDA over 4M€ and an ROI easily over 0.5 with the partners and end-users pushing us to get prototypes and the potential to create many jobs in the ecosystem, we have to invest further and take this project to the next level via phase 2.
We assessed the economic viability of the proposed project “Cost-efficient and Effective Tools for Mastitis Monitoring
for Dairy Farms” (around 35 seconds, €0.03/test) including: Market, Organizational and Technological and Ergonomic Feasibility.
We elaborated a business plan including tactics and strategies (operations plans, marketing strategies,
management team and in-depth financial projections) to be implemented later (phase 2) in order to grow the project.

The tasks performed are:
We established the project work group including the
commercial manager of the company, consultants and internal
In-depth interviews and survey with national or regional labs;
national (or regional, depending on the country) farmer
associations, national (or regional, depending on the country)
vet associations, direct vets or vet cabinet contacts, direct
farmer contacts.
In-depth interviews and collaboration exploration with
experts, consultants, universities and complementary
companies as potential business partners and suppliers.
In-depth collaboration with a design expert to assess
ergonomic aspect of instrument and software.
The intuitiveness and smoothness of the UI has several points to improve, we learnt. In that context we decided to limit the current versions to common tablet sizes instead of small smartphone screens.
The most essential result was to match our product roadmap with the relevant market segments requirements. Many technical lab tests were performed; we observed again that liquids and pumps can behave in counter-intuitive ways.
Tested the preliminary system prototype on more field trials in real work
conditions (midsize dairies).
Performed a feasibility study to assess the economic viability as a
Finally we elaborated the feasibility report including business
"MastCoud combines various technologies so that not only somatic cells and mastitis management are possible at €0.03/test. Also milk composition is measured i.e. fat content, protein content, solids, pH, conductivity and certain adulteration can be detected. With the open data collection and collaboration platform in the Cloud, MastCloud and Ekomilk will also facilitate exchange of data in the dairy supply chain, beyond Ekomilk, beyond MastCloud.

Our innovation is relevant for most of the dairy producers: small farms, mid-size and large farms; bovine, ovine, caprine or other; mixed farms or pure dairy farms. Our innovation is crucial and even disruptive for bovine dairy farms, which are confronted with sizeable economic consequences of (sub) clinical mastitis: from reduced milk production and discarded milk to treatment and labour costs and the loss of milk quality bonuses (or penalties) besides clinical mastitis costs. As an example (excerpt, UK figures):
“[…] in recent years there is strong evidence that clinical mastitis has been rising. The rate is currently estimated at between 50 and 70 mastitis cases per 100 cows per year. […]""The average cost of a clinical case of mastitis is €250 to €400,"" … ""

That means mastitis costs the average 100 cow herd €14,000 a year for clinical cases alone. There will also be additional losses from sub-clinical effects such as SCC penalties, yield loss and secondary health effects. Mastitis continues to cost the industry millions of pounds each year and creates real animal welfare issues.”5
“Dairy production losses across Europe are estimated to be € 1.1 billion annually. In the US, mastitis is estimated to cost US dairy farmers US $1.7 billion annually, or approximately US $200 per cow.”

Most studies yield similar conclusions about the costs of mastitis and the potential benefits of proper mastitis prevention and management on EU farms. All this indicates that for a large proportion of farms and other stakeholders there are many avoidable losses. The payback period for our product will be short, ranging from a few months to one year depending on the size of the farm and the mastitis incidence rate.

We can change the way the dairy ecosystem works – toward a more sustainable, profitable and CO2-neutral approach.
In well developed economies, central, often government-dependent milk quality labs play an important role in the dairy eco-system. These stakeholders mostly rely on capital intensive central lab equipment for mastitis detection, which in turn requires regular CO2- and cost-intensive milk sample collection from all farms and cows. Therefore, there is a drive to less frequent analysis in milk quality labs (e.g. in DHI, LKV, controle laitier passing from 4 to 8 weeks between samplings). However this has far reaching consequences for mastitis detection and udder-health. For all these reasons, reliable and cost-effective solutions are needed to compensate by allowing additional cell count measurements outside of the official milk recording. Moreover, our inter-stakeholder collaboration modules will allow bi-directionnal exchange of data with central labs but also with DHI,LKV, controle laitier data bases. Both, central labs and DHI, LKV, controle laitier organisations can become our business partners. Currently dairy cattle breeding companies are setting up collaborator-herds to obtain precise phenotypes of genotyped reference herds. Our instrument can play a major role in selective breeding for mastitis resistence. Therefore also breeding companies can become our business partners, as excellent data recording is required for them, especially in the era of genomic selection."
EkomilkHorizon Lab Prototype Photo