Harnessing herd data

Japan (Sapporo)

On rolling pastures in the mountainous northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, cattle peacefully graze on thick blades of grass. A timeless scene – if it weren’t for the futuristic sensors around each cow’s neck. Suddenly this field resembles science fiction more than Dutch Master.

Japanese startup Farmnote has started to make better use of natural resources in the countryside by collecting cattle data using ‘wearable tech’. Wireless sensors built into necklaces or footlets communicate with farmers smartphones using radio waves so they can understand behaviour such as grazing times, sleep patterns and movement around the field. This means they can rely on real insights to maintain happier and healthier herds, more intelligent food production and an overall improved approach to farming.

As 93% of livestock farmers in Japan are small-scale with less than 100 heads of cattle, CEO Shinya Kobayashi has provided them with the new data-collection system for free, while farmers feeding more than 100 heads of cattle have to subscribe to the premium plan. Almost 3% of the entire population of dairy and livestock farmers in Japan are currently using Farmnote, who have just fundraised a 210 million yen (about $1.7 million) of investment to lead the industry into the future.

Written by

Natasha Drewnicki (09 October 2015)


Natasha Drewnicki has rendered her insatiable nosiness into a career in journalism and PR. When not juggling projects in Barcelona, she'll be surfing in North Spain or Cornwall.

Project leader

Shinya Kobayashi, CEO

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