News and Success Stories

Published 02 February 2024

Bovonic: From Garage to Global

Kiwi agritech start-up Bovonic is set to launch its novel milk sensors on farms across the North Island next month, a milestone that’s been in the works since founder Liam Kampshof began prototyping in his garage in 2021.

The automatic mastitis detector, named QuadSense, is made up of four milk sensors that insert into milking cups, and signal the control unit to light up when disease is detected.

QuadSense’s point of difference from existing mastitis detectors on the market is that it measures and compares milk from each quarter of the udder for greater accuracy. The unit is also battery-powered with 3-4 year battery life, gives results in minutes, and costs a quarter of the price of competitor products.

"The good thing with QuadSense is that I don't have to change anything to my milking routine, they were so easy to install, I could do it myself,” says Te Aroha farmer Michael van Heuven who was involved in Bovonic’s on-farm trials.

Early mastitis detection is vital for a more successful cure rate

– Michael van Heuven, Dairy Farmer

DairyNZ say mastitis affects udder health and milk quality, impacting farm productivity and profitability. If detected late, it can be extremely disruptive for dairy farmers.

“We’ve recently heard from a farmer who only found out Staph was in his herd when it had already spread to 10 cows. At about $1,500-$2,000 per cow that’s a lot!” says Kampshof.

He says many farmers still manually check the milk through sight or feel, as the milk is discoloured and clotty when infected.

As the son of a share milker, Kampshof says he understands the needs of farmers and wanted to pair that with his medical engineering experience working on diagnostic device developments. 

After five years working in London on automated blood testing devices, helping hospitals detect blood poisoning, Septicemia, and cancer, he says he wanted to return home to combine his diagnostic testing experience with his passion for dairy farming.

“People say farmers aren’t good at adopting technology but we’ve seen cow collar adoption go from 5-30 per cent in five years, and we’ve pre-sold 120 units of Bovonic’s Quadsense, so clearly when the tech ticks the boxes, farmers will adopt it,” he says.

Bovonic has also already had interest from farmers abroad, but say New Zealand farmers have priority before scaling to Europe and the USA.

After two and a half years of development and extensive testing on trial farms, the sensors are now being deployed to early adopters in the North Island ahead of a wider release at Fieldays in June. 

Callaghan Business Innovation Advisor, Shane Dooley says innovations like Bovonic are exactly what Callaghan Innovation and the Agritech Activator want to help bring to market.

It's great to see scalable agritech solutions that have benefits for the New Zealand dairy herd, and show a lot of promise on the global stage.

– Shane Dooley, Callaghan Innovation

“Farmers were excited to see the tech showcased at the Agritech: Dairy Farming for the Future event in November,'' he says.

Liam Kampshof, Founder of Bovonic, at our Agitech in the Dairy event in November

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