UK-MADE livestock tracking collar Herdsy has secured what could be a game-changing foothold in the Texan market of over 12 million beef cattle.

Richard Hobson founded Herdsy in 2016 after coming up with the idea on his family’s farm. A former IBM software developer and accountant, Mr Hobson was mentored by his friend Dmitri Zaitsev, a Professor of Mathematics, to refine the technology.

Together, they developed a livestock collar equipped with advanced sensors and machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) to measure biomedical and activity data, such as heart rate, weight gain, and grazing patterns. This data provides farmers with an overview of their cattle via the Herdsy website or app, alerting them in the event of atypical behaviour that could be detrimental to the value of the animal or its wellbeing. The information is then analysed against industry benchmarks, advising farmers on the ideal time to send animals to market, which in turn reduces time on farm per animal, costs whilst improving cash flow and profit margins.

After reaching out to the Department for International Trade for export advice, Herdsy accelerated its entry to the US market, by quickly securing two partnerships. The business is now to co-develop a new product with the Texas Agriculture and Mechanical University, one of the biggest cattle names in the US. It has also gained a place with the Austin Technology Incubator to address the sustainability issues facing the beef industry.

Mr Hobson said: “When lockdown started, one of our orders to South Africa was put on hold and I immediately began thinking of how we were going to be able to get through this difficult time. I realised with more people than ever having to work remotely that businesses all over the world were having to remodel, and 'virtual' business meetings were necessary to do deals. So, I took the opportunity to set up video calls with high profile ranchers and partners in the United States and it worked!

“Having worked with the Department for International Trade for a few years, they were pivotal in our success in Texas. We managed to secure calls and introductions that otherwise could have taken us years to get. We saw the appetite for Herdsy when one rancher from Oregon contacted us to order over 5000 collars to manage against wolf attacks.”

Herdsy started exporting in 2016 and is currently used in four countries around the globe. The business is now planning to open an office in Texas to assist its expansion into neighbouring US states and South America.