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The Sound of a Healthy Herd. Revolutionising the Care of Dairy Cattle with Pioneering Acoustic Technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - APT (The Sound of a Healthy Herd. Revolutionising the Care of Dairy Cattle with Pioneering Acoustic Technology)

Período documentado: 2021-04-01 hasta 2022-06-30

Mastitis is the most pressing disease affecting cows and antibiotics are the only available option worldwide - close to 50% of antibiotics are used in food producing animals.
The continued use of antibiotics in the treatment and prevention of infections of dairy cows has a direct effect on fostering Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), an urgent matter of particular public interest.

The continued use of antibiotics also weakens the cow’s health, decreasing its milk production and eventually, weak cows are removed from the herd, causing high economic losses that can reach €2.4B per year in Europe alone.

Armenta was established to address these pressing economic effects, with a revolutionary way of using APT. Armenta aims at becoming a leader in 1) fighting the spread of AMR 2) boosting the dairy economy giving €1.4B cash back to the EU farmers each year 3) increasing cow’s welfare and longevity.

Armenta developed a disruptive, proprietary (two patents have been granted), antibiotic free solution for bovine mastitis, based on Acoustic Pulse Technology (APT) applied specifically for dairy cattle.

The pulses are generated via ballistic impact powered by high pressurized air. This unique design enables the development of a powerful but small device (APT-X1) that generates the acoustic pulses using a detachable (as it erodes with time) applicator module (AM-2) which was designed to enable coverage of a large area but maintaining the power of the pulses at therapeutic levels, making treatment time short and practical when dealing with large farm animals, like dairy cattle.

The overall objective of this project is to develop a 2nd generation APT-X hand-held device, making it light-weighted, smart APT-X system (APT-X2h) with a durable and more reliable applicator module (AM-3) as well as developing a treatment station (APT-X2e) to address the needs of medium-large farms in terms of labour efficiency. In addition, another objective of the project is the development of in-line, real-time Somatic Cell Detector (SCD) to enable early detection of mastitis for more efficient use of APT in the farm.
The work carried out so far, focused on the development of the next generation versions of the APT-X systems, including the necessary improvements in the design of these systems and the development of news ones, based on the APT technology - to enable large-scale dissemination in all types and settings of dairy farms.

Based on the know-how obtained, and feedback received using the first version of the hand-held device, namely the APT-X1, the device was improved, and a new design was developed that better addresses the needs of small dairy farms, mainly for a lighter weight and more user-friendly application of APT by the farmer, such as fewer needs of replacing the consumable applicator module, the AM, as a more durable one was developed.

Applying APT in medium-large farms using the APT-X hand-held device require labour needs which they are short of it. For that reason, an APT based treatment station was developed that enable large scale application and treatment of high number of cows designed as such that it will be optimally integrated to the current workflow of those farms.

Additional work that was carried out so far is the development of a somatic cell detector (SCD) device that will enable early detection of sub-clinical mastitis when the cow is milked to allow better use of APT in farm to prevent the manifestation of the disease to clinical one.
Armenta aims at making APT the standard practice in the treatment of bovine mastitis and therefore become an integral part of a smart and sustainable herd health management.
APT have the potential to have large socio-economic impact as it can scale up from the following reasons:

(1) A comprehensive solution to better herd health management, beyond bovine mastitis treatment to prevention of this pressing disease and boosting in general the udder health to increase production therefore strengthening farmers financial capacity, enabling them to address the growing demand for milk and milk products.

Over the period 2007-2016 for example, dairy farms experienced 3 crises which lead to decline from 139 EUR/t to 83 EUR/t in milk margins - due to increased production cost and decreased milk prices. By using APT, the farmer will have direct positive effect on milk margins, cutting losses by €1.4B boosting the dairy farming economy.

(2) The technology has a wide applicability towards other non-antibiotic treatments for other bovine diseases. Clinical validation in treating mastitis will open a range of future applications such as treatment of bovine reproduction disorders and bovine lameness - both treated mainly by antibiotics. Other livestock animals in the dairy industry, such as goats and sheep also face the same consequences of mastitis.
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