An agtech company aims to give Waikato farmers the ability to shift cow herds from the comfort of their couch by the end of the year.
Halter, founded by Morrinsville man Craig Piggott, had developed a solar powered band which uses an audio cue to direct cows, enabling farmers to shift and manage their herd remotely.
The bands link to an app which acts as a portal for farmers to manage their herd and farm data including cow health, feed and behaviour.
Farmers were able to set schedules where herds are guided to-and-from the shed, receive alerts when cows are showing signs of poor health or distress, and set virtual fences along rivers and drains.
The company had offices in Morrinsville and Auckland. Its technical team was working on modelling to optimise pasture and grass allocation, ensuring cows are receiving optimal pasture and dry matter allocations and improving milk production as a result.
Halter aimed to support the modern farm by reducing the intensive hours farmers work, increasing milk production, enhancing animal welfare and protecting the environment.
While the company has plans to go global, its current focus was in the Waikato, where Piggott was raised on a 300-cow dairy farm.
Advanced demand and preorders for the product had fuelled the company’s steep grow.
Halter was looking to offer a number of high-tech jobs in the Waikato including engineering, data analysts and cow behavioural experts ahead of commercial roll-out starting later in the year.
Chris Bloomfield, who manages Halter’s R&D farm, had a background in software development and mustering on large ranches in the Australian outback.
Bloomfield was responsible for the development of the company’s Cowgorithms and runs Halter’s Morrinsville team.
“The team at Halter come from diverse backgrounds. We have worked on race cars, at NASA and on elite sports technology,” said Bloomfield.
“We’re also farmers and animal behaviour experts looking to use the best of technology to improve the future of the industry we know so well.”
Halter is backed by Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck and Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1, New Zealand’s Tuhua Ventures, along with venture capital from the US.