Genetics and farm services cooperative Livestock Improvement Corporation is investing in a blockchain company and a developer of cloud-based mastitis testing technology.
LIC also increased its investment in its AgCelerator Fund designed to deliver more value to New Zealand dairy farmers.
The cooperative invested in Auckland-based TrackBack, which is using blockchain in the agriculture sector to provide trust and transparency through the supply chain.
Fueled by the pandemic, traceability was increasingly front of mind for consumers, LIC said, and the data the cooperative holds on animal health was an important contribution to providing quality assurances for New Zealand dairy farmers.
The Trackback investment could improve global confidence in the quality, integrity and provenance of produce.
The other investment was in Dunedin-based Mastaplex which has developed a proprietary mastitis testing device, Mastatest, which provides faster and more precise mastitis diagnosis on farm.
A cloud-based IT solution, Mastaplex was able to advise a farmer which cow has which bug within 24 hours, helping decrease antibiotic use.
LIC’s AgCelerator Fund, launched in August, was a fund for innovative individuals and companies adding value to the dairy industry.
“We have been impressed with both businesses through our due diligence process and pleased that both have a strong focus for our industry,” LIC CEO Wayne McNee said.
“Mastitis is a real problem for dairy farmers and having greater visibility of the supply chain is critical as more consumers seek to understand the paddock to plate journey and each step in between.”
Dr Olaf Bork, the CEO of Mastaplex, said mastitis costs the New Zealand dairy industry $180 million annually and was one of the biggest issues on farm today.
“Our product Mastatest guides antibiotic treatment decisions for mastitis and supports disease management, improves milk quality and combats against antimicrobial resistance,” he said.
David McDonald, the CEO of TrackBack, said the support of LIC meant it would be able to expand its platform and develop more tools to make leading edge innovations more accessible to primary industries and enhance data interoperability across the value chain.
AgCelerator manager Eleshea D’Souza said the fund was continuing to receive a lot of strong applications for funding.
“LIC recognises that partnering is important for new product development in the industry and it’s exciting to be advocating for our shareholders through investment into products and services we believe will deliver further value on farm,” D’Souza said.
Last year, LIC announced a large migration of its back-end systems to Microsoft Azure cloud.
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