Edinburgh-based technology company IceRobotics has signed a five-year contract to provide its CowAlert system to one of the largest dairy groups in North America.

This deal is the biggest in the Scottish company’s history and follows commercial trials in which its automated livestock monitoring tech proved both its financial and welfare benefits.

CowAlert works by recording data on cow activity from a leg-based sensor which is sent to the cloud where it is analysed and interpreted by the company’s proprietary algorithms. The results are relayed back to the farmer’s CowAlert dashboard – viewable on computer or smartphone – providing real-time actionable insights on health and fertility issues.

The location of the movement sensors enables information to be collected on lying times which, coupled with step counts and motion index, provide early warning systems for a range of health issues, and also assure accurate heat detection.

Regarding the new US deal, IceRobotics CEO Douglas Armstrong said: “This is the most significant endorsement yet of the CowAlert system. It is also the first major order for our latest sensor technology.

“The reasons why CowAlert has been selected are the improvements in fertility that it has brought, and the ability of the system to identify conditions like lameness at a very early stage allowing more natural interventions and reducing the need for medicines,” he said. “Not only does this bring financial benefits to the farmers but it translates directly into significant reductions in carbon, and improved animal well-being.”

Plans are now in progress to move some of the product manufacture from China to Scotland to shorten and assure product delivery times.

The official UK launch of a new movement sensor and enhanced CowAlert functionality is scheduled for the UK Dairy Day in Telford, in September. However, prior to that, Scottish farmers can find out more first-hand from the company at the Gold Cup Open Day at Cumnock, Ayrshire, on August 5.