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Silent Herdsmen | Thoughtworks
Silent Herdsman

Taking the guess work out of milk production for farmers across the UK

For the average dairy cow, milk production peaks during the time she is in heat. For dairy farmers, to pin point that moment is critical: increased yields = increased revenue. 

Dairy farmers must give their buyers accurate predictions of their milk production each year. Traditional methods have made it increasingly difficult to predict, putting pressure on the farmers. Until now.

Silent Herdsmen partnered with Thoughtworks to create a technology solution that enables farmers to accurately predict their milk production for each year.

How it works: The cows wear a collar that contains a 3D accelerometer which transmits data back to the base station in the farm. Typically when a cow is on heat she will move much more than usual, so the cow's movements are monitored to let the farmer know the optimal time to milk. The collar has the added benefit of giving the farmer insight to the herd, ensuring it is as healthy as possible in order to maximise the amount of milk being produced. It also helps identify any sick animals as early as possible. mySilent Herdsman is the new, more scalable, cloud-based Silent Herdsman solution.

Thoughtworks took mySilent Herdsman from inception to release, with the MVP (minimum viable product) being rolled out to selected trial farms in just six weeks.

The software shows the farmer:

  • Mini dashboard when they log into mySilent Herdsman
  • All the cows on their farm
  • Biological information relating to each cow
  • Activity graph showing the movement of each cow
  • The activity graph also illustrates when a cow has had an increased movement signalling when the cow is most fertile
  • Oestrus alerts are highlighted to the farmer, with specific date and time information
  • mySilent Herdsman is synced to the farmer's Farm PC, so whenever anything is changed on the Farm PC the changes are updated on mySilent Herdsman
Thoughtworks proposal focused not only on providing the technological solution, but also providing business analysis, interactions with the customers and going out to research what our customers wanted, not just what we wanted.
Michael Gilroy, Chief Engineer
Silent Herdsman

All environments were built in the Cloud using Amazon Web Services. The technology:

  • Backend - Ruby/Sinatra/Postgres SQL
  • Frontend - Javascript/EmberJS/D3
  • Build/Deploy(Go, AWS, CloudInit, CloudFormation, Ubuntu, RDS)

For a look at the BBC article on The Silent Herdsman click here

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