Healthy Cow brings dairy to the forefront of FoodBytes! San Francisco

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

ProPreg is a preventative health measure aimed at reducing dairy farmers’ reliance on antibiotics and hormones in their cows. Pic: Healthy Cow
ProPreg is a preventative health measure aimed at reducing dairy farmers’ reliance on antibiotics and hormones in their cows. Pic: Healthy Cow

Related tags: FoodBytes, Rabobank, Cow’s milk, Animal health

Another FoodBytes! pitch competition has come to a close after final presentations March 28. As one of the 15 featured startups, Healthy Cow showcased its mission to develop products that help improve cow health and productivity from a systems biology approach. It plans to roll out its ProPreg device to dairy farms in late 2019.

Since founding four years ago, Healthy Cow has worked to improve milk production, the quality of milk being produced and the awareness of good milk. Founder Luis Hui told DairyReporter his vision for Healthy Cow was to help dairy farmers produce more “wholesome, natural, nutritious and sustainable milk.”

The brand plans to have a varied portfolio of products that target “optimal cow health,”​ but the ProPreg is its flagship project. It’s an intravaginal probiotic that helps maintain a healthy microbiome along the cow’s reproductive tract.

It is a preventative method aimed at reducing dairy farmers’ reliance on antibiotics and hormones in their cows, which affects the quality of the milk and dairy products. The ProPreg re-establishes a healthy vaginal microbiome, applied before and after calving.

Hui said the device has been tested on more than 700 dairy cows in Canada, and the commercial formulation is fully developed and ready to use. The team has completed all the necessary safety studies and has been talking to several partners about a late 2019 launch.

After successfully integrating ProPreg into dairy farms, Healthy Cow has plans for other natural cow therapies, including an oral nasal spray, a solution for the utters and a diagnostic.

Healthy Cow did not take home a top prize at the FoodBytes! competition in San Francisco this month, but it stood alone as the only startup representing the dairy industry with a true dairy focus. Hui said the accelerator’s application process was intensive, but worth it for the mentorship, networking and exposure.

“There’s been a big shift and increase of attention on the food sector, which is very different from four years ago. Animal health and dairy would be a smaller segment of it. Any support or exposure that dairy startups can get from platforms like FoodBytes! is actually significantly more important because competition in agriculture is so great,”​ he said.

Hui reported that ProPreg showed a return on investment of 4 to 1 in its conducted field studies, so “for every dollar a dairy farmer would spend on ProPreg, they would receive $4 in value health and production benefits.”

The farmers conducting these field studies on commercial dairy farms were so enthusiastic about the results that they were the company’s first seed investors, with commitments to purchase the product when it’s available.

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