Belfast-based livestock monitoring technology company CattleEye has closed a $2.5 million (€2.1 million) seed investment round.

The money has come from a syndicate led by Techstart Ventures and includes Paris-based venture capital firm Seventure Partners and Turntide Technologies, a Silicon Valley venture backed by Amazon.

The investment will be used to bring CattleEye’s autonomous livestock welfare and performance monitoring product to market.

The first autonomous livestock monitoring system for ruminants

The firm has developed the first autonomous livestock monitoring system for ruminants using video analytics coupled with deep learning artificial intelligence to improve animal health and welfare.

A study has shown the technology has the potential to increase animal welfare levels and reduce carbon emission intensity by around 0.5t/cow/year.

CattleEye uses video analytics powered by deep learning artificial intelligence to monitor the health of ruminant livestock.

The first version of the product detects locomotion deviations, which are highly correlated to lameness in dairy cows.

CattleEye is thought to be the first of its kind to undergo successful academic validation by a UK university.

The results of this study which are due to be released next month will conclude that CattleEye outperformed an expert human in the detection of lesions in lame dairy cows.

A recent survey carried out by Ruminant Health & Welfare, a UK industry body aiming to improve animal health and welfare, described lameness as the top syndrome impacting cattle production and welfare in the UK.

Many of the first farms to trial the CattleEye solutions have reported a dramatic reduction in lameness levels on their dairy farms in a short time.

Turntide Technologies chief executive Ryan Morris said: “Our company’s mission is to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change and CattleEye fits that by reducing dairy cow carbon emission intensity using camera technology that requires no hardware or devices to be attached to a cow.”

CattleEye chief executive Terry Canning said: “We are really excited to be bringing the very latest in deep learning and artificial intelligence technology to one of oldest industries in world, livestock farming.

This recent investment will give us the firepower to increase productivity and animal welfare and decrease the carbon footprint of millions of dairy cows across the globe.”

The technology is expected to launch commercially later this year and is currently being used by a group of pioneer dairy farms along with UK retailers Tesco and Marks & Spencer.

The US Council of Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is also utilising the technology to explore how CattleEye data can be used in genomic selection to help improve overall hoof health in dairy cows worldwide.