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article imageSomaDetect develops breakthrough technology for dairy industry

By Karen Graham     Oct 20, 2017 in Technology
Fredericton - A Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada agricultural tech company was the winner of a $1.0 million prize Thursday night, October 5, in the 43North annual international business plan competition in Buffalo, N.Y.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced SomaDetect, run by Bethany Deshpande and her husband and business partner, Nicholas Clermont, as the $1 million grand prize winner of the fourth annual 43North competition.
The top eight finalists of the $5 million startup competition were announced at an awards ceremony in Buffalo Thursday evening October 5, 2017. For the fourth straight year, 43North awarded a total of $5 million in cash prizes, free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, as well as guidance from mentors and access to other business incentive programs to eight startups from around the world.
Beth of SomeDetect
43North operates through the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, and grants from Empire State Development and the New York Power Authority. Additional support comes from several other sponsors. 43North is an unique opportunity for startup companies around the world, in any industry, with the exception of bricks-and-mortar retail and hospitality.
Applicants go through three rounds of competition, an online written application, a live video pitch and 43North in-person finals in Buffalo in October every year. And the competition must be fierce. There were 509 applications this year from around the globe, and they were whittled down to the 10 finalists who made one last pitch for their business Thursday night to a panel of judges.
SomaDetect's breakthrough technology will change the dairy industry
SomaDetect was founded in July 2016, developing a technology that allows dairy farmers to measure major indicators of milk quality and herd health, directly in the milking line. SomaDetect's technology does not require added chores or the use of chemicals, cartridges, or lost milk - It's all automatic.
A dairy cow produces 53 pounds of milk every day  and 120 pounds of manure.
A dairy cow produces 53 pounds of milk every day, and 120 pounds of manure.
The new advanced technology that detects the presence of progesterone, protein, fat trace, antibiotics and somatic cell counts in raw milk without the need for reagents or consumables, allowing farmers to monitor the reproductive status and health of their herd
The company uses in-line optical sensor technology that is easily converted into a digital signal, to provide real-time analysis of milk quality. The technology fits into the line of existing dairy equipment and has proven to be cost-effective when piloted on dairy farms in New Brunswick. The software uses machine-learning and artificial intelligence to create cutting-edge algorithms that pull the most information possible from the sensor technology.
A photo of a cow being milked on a dairy farm in Girgarre  Victoria.
A photo of a cow being milked on a dairy farm in Girgarre, Victoria.
Not only do dairy farmers get real-time meaningful reports, but the technology provides management options to farmers. And with machine learning and AI, over time, the system will better-track farming practices, manage mastitis, reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage, and virtually eliminate the addition of low-quality, low-fat milk into bulk storage tanks.
Getting accurate information on the levels of progesterone in milk will allow SomaDetect to provide dairy farmers with accurate information on when a cow is in heat and the optimum time to inseminate. According to the company, about two-thirds of heats are undetected on dairy farms.
Canadian farmer J.W. Dykstra said, “SomaDetect has created something for dairy farmers that I can easily use without having to spend money on big, expensive equipment or pay to have each of my cows tested every month." Mr. Dykstra says he will definetly buy the technology when it comes on the market.
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