Arla Finland creates AI app for animal welfare

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Tikka organic farm in Kurikka, Finland.
The Tikka organic farm in Kurikka, Finland.

Related tags: Arla, AI

Consumers of some Arla dairy products in Finland can now view varied and up-to-date information on the welfare of cows.

Arla Iris is an app developed by Arla Finland that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The app will be piloted on Tikka, an organic farm in Kurikka. Arla Single Estate Organic Milk, which is packaged in Arla Finland’s cooperative dairy Hämeenlinnan Osuusmeijeri, will be the pilot product.

Arla Finland's CEO Kai Gyllström said the purpose of the new app is to meet consumer expectations.

“It is important for people to be sure that the living conditions of dairy farm cows are typical of their species and that the cows are treated well. We wanted to make the familiar Arla Milkchain even more transparent for the consumers by giving them a new opportunity to follow the cows’ conditions as they actually are. Dairy farms can also take advantage of the AI data to improve their own operations,”​ Gyllström said.

arla finland app

The Arla Iris app collects and combines data on cleanliness, nutrition and health, as well as outdoor activities, movement and everyday operations at the Tikka organic dairy farm. One data source is an AI-powered digital camera prototype developed for the project. The camera examines footage continuously and sends aggregated data daily to the Arla Milkchain, where it is openly available.

Essi Wallenius, CEO of Armenta Benessi, a company that conducts animal welfare audits, said, “The welfare of the cows is made up of fairly simple things, like eating and the possibility to rest comfortably. Personally, I pay attention to how comfortably the cows can lie down, as well as their nutrition and basic health.

“Utilizing artificial intelligence and observing cows through the camera provides complementary information to human observation throughout the year. Another advantage of using a camera is that deviations can be picked up quickly.”

For more than a year now, origin information for the Single Estate Organic Milk has been visible to consumers in the Arla Milkchain. The information can be found by entering the milk packaging date at arla.fi/tikantila.

Farmer Tuomo Mäkinen said, “We have always sought to do more than what is required of dairy farms in Finland to ensure animal welfare. The technology developed by Arla does not replace the observations conducted by welfare specialists, doctors and our own staff, but it can strengthen the whole, and most importantly – improve the Finnish people’s understanding of dairy farms and the factors that influence the welfare of cows.”

The Arla Milkchain has been implemented in collaboration with growth agency Truly Agency and blockchain technology company Empirica Finland. Representatives from The Research Centre for Animal Welfare and from Armenta Benessi assisted in the development of Arla Iris.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Arla Foods, Fresh Milk

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