Posted on Jan 25, 2021 1:43 PM

· AI Herd, the “big brother” of the herd

“AI”, for artificial intelligence, and “Herd”, for herd … This is the vocation of the Nantes SME AI Herd, which is developing a computer vision system making it possible to detect and analyze all the events of the life of a bovine, in this case the milk cow , in his stable. This global surveillance solution, a sort of “big brother” of the herd, activates a network of cameras and software, which is based on artificial intelligence algorithms. From his computer, the breeder can thus monitor the breeding with, superimposed, alerts, statistics and various data to help decision-making.

This software promotes the early detection of pathologies, the first of which is lameness, but also helps to monitor heat, calving, frequentation of areas, body score, diet, competition on water points and ‘other stressors that can affect animal welfare and therefore its productivity. “Because these two aspects are linked”, underlines Quentin Garnier, veterinarian and co-founder of the company, which mobilizes 10 people. A dedicated team is working on the project within the CEA, with which the algorithms were developed. The company aims for a turnover of 7 million euros from 2022. A first fundraising is scheduled.

This conical shelter, patented and manufactured by a local SME, is designed so that the sow can give birth in an outdoor environment.

This conical shelter, patented and manufactured by a local SME, is designed so that the sow can give birth in an outdoor environment.Thibault Dentel / Fleury Michon

· The cozy “Tipig” of Fleury Michon

The 300 sows are at their ease on their 23 hectare estate in Théligny, in the Sarthe region, where Fleury Michon and Vallégrain have just installed a pilot farm “In terms of respect for animals and economic viability”. The initiative aims “To validate and share another model of organic farming with emerging breeders, wishing to be inspired by it and contribute to the development of the French organic pork industry”, explains Gérard Chambet, Chief Operating Officer of Fleury Michon. If the project is a response to the challenges of sourcing organic French pork, it brings its share of innovations to animal welfare, including Tipig.

This conical shelter, patented and manufactured by a local SME, was designed so that the sow can give birth in an outdoor environment. It has been designed so that the piglets are not accidentally run over by their mother, that they can only go out from a certain age. And, when they grow up, a small outside staircase allows them to go in and out as they please. “This shelter is easy to clean, insulated, ventilated and can be moved to distribute the rotation”, details Gérard Chambet. The farm, the investment of which amounts to 2 million euros, is owned at 93% by the joint venture associating the two groups and at 6% by the farmer-operator who is intended to take over all the capital.

The cow mat prevents slipping, as well as certain pathologies, including mastitis.

The cow mat prevents slipping, as well as certain pathologies, including mastitis.Bioret Agri

The cow mat which becomes a heat pump

From plastics and other recycled materials, Bioret Agri manufactures cow rugs, a product that prevents slips and certain pathologies, including mastitis. It ensures good sleeping conditions for the animal, “Whose comfort temperature is 5 to 7 degrees”, recalls Jean-Vincent Bioret, the president of this SME located north of Nantes. “Because now, almost every summer, cows are in respiratory distress. “ Aquaclim, the latest addition to the range, goes further, since it recovers the calories emanating from the animal via sensors in the mat to produce heat recycled into hot air or domestic hot water. “We invented zoothermy”, notes Jean-Vincent Bioret.

Bioret Agri also manufactures grooved mats that prevent cows from slipping, which keep their hooves dry while separating urine and faeces. This technology, which is ahead of European standards, reduces ammonia fumes by 40% and allows separate spreading of solids and liquids. Bioret Agri achieves, with 60 people, a turnover of 20 million euros, 70% of which is exported to 65 countries. In 2019, the SME was the champion of Pays de la Loire, SME category in number of patents filed. “And we constantly have 10 projects in the drawers”, slips its leader.