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AI-enabled Optical Sensing for Raw Milk Testing

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The alumni of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIS) have developed an optical milk scanner based on materials-sensing technology called MilKey, and dairy farmers can use it to check the health of their cows through an app.

MilKey, which can test milk from individual cows in less than 10 seconds, is assisting farmers in getting a clearer picture of their cows’ health. It employs a technique known as mobile spectroscopy to obtain information on milk composition such as milk fat, protein, and somatic cell count (SCC). Higher SCC levels indicate mastitis or infection, both of which farmers can treat before they spread or worsen.

Everyone is aware of the importance of data in promoting better health. It’s very similar to how human health care has been revolutionised by things like data gathering devices and in-home care for patients. There is a lack of information available to dairy farmers all around the world. Many farmers are forced to either send milk samples to be analysed in labs or wait for a technician to come to the farm to collect milk samples from each cow. This is necessary to obtain the most precise measurements possible of cow health and milk quality.

A farmer may be able to spot infections before they spread to the rest of the herd with the assistance of the MilKey which serves as the leading edge of an analytics platform. In the future, it may also provide vets with historical data on the health of animals, assist dairy farmers in identifying best practices and make it possible for farmers to raise their level of transparency with consumers.

We see data as the key to our solution We want to become a milk quality certification platform, which will improve confidence in the industry and for the consumer.

– Julia Somerdin, CEO, Labby, SDM ’13.

Jlia said that farmers will be able to take better care of the health of their animals, and people who buy milk will know they are getting it from the best farms with good quality. And for the consumer, more openness makes it possible for farmers to talk to the public and show that they treat their animals well.

The typical method of monitoring cow health and milk quality is one that requires a lot of time and can be very expensive. According to Somerdin, because of this, most farmers only conduct some tests once a month.

The absence of monitoring can result in the spread of infections such as mastitis, which is an excruciating infection that also reduces the quality of milk. In dairy farming, Mastitis is the most prevalent and expensive disease that can affect cows. Because it is difficult to identify and very contagious, it can quickly spread across the rest of the herd.

Milk is a nutrient, but it is also the principal source of income for dairy farmers. Farmers are compensated based on milk components like fat and protein, therefore milk quality is extremely essential to them. Furthermore, milk quality is a good predictor of a herd’s health and can provide useful information about farm activities.

As a result, having a big number of cows producing a huge amount of milk is not enough; good quality milk with a high nutritional value is required. High-quality milk comes from healthy cows, so farmers are constantly working to ensure the health of their herds by providing nutritious feed, pleasant barns, and clean milking parlours, among other things.


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