Making scientifically informed decisions, instead of educated guesswork, could save farmers time and money when it comes to their approach to mastitis. At least if one NZ startup has anything to do with it.
Meet the founder Chris Brook of DairySmart. They are one of the ventures taking part in our three-month Sprout 2023 Accelerator in the Cohort XI intake.
Chris has spent over 20 years in the Dairy Industry 16 years as a dairy farmer where he experienced first-hand the mental stress and frustrations of dealing with repeated episodes of mastitis that traditional approaches were not effective in resolving. This led him to embark on years of research, learning about bacteria and how they cause mastitis, during which he developed a science-based approach to managing mastitis that can be implemented from a farmer's perspective.
Passionate. Dynamic. Great.
These are the words Chris used to describe the DairySmart team. With Mike Prattley (managing director), Ryan Medlin (North Island Manager), Tony Reynolds (chairman), James Bourke (Director) and Ben Davidson (Veterinary advisor) and staff making up the team, the depth of knowledge and experience in the dairy industry is immense.
“The whole team are farmers. Basically, that’s how it all started. Clients of mine told me to grow something and go out on my own and they’d back me. And they did,” said Chris.
The core problem that DairySmart are solving is the appropriate stewardship use of antibiotics to remove the antimicrobial resistance within our dairy herds.
The DairySmart solution? Education, science, and real-time data in a centralized location accessible to the farmer, vet and anyone else who needs to be looped in.
“The last 20 years there's been a lot of trials done and data out there but not everyone has access to that data, that’s why we’ve had conflicting information. It’s why DairySmart has an open dashboard and database, to make it more transparent.”
Three years into the DairySmart journey, Chris has ambitions of taking the technology global. But the first step is solidifying their position nationally.
Sprout is helping him along the way by connecting him with like-minded, passionate people who can add value and provide advice that will see his vision of having the best science and data available to everyone who needs it.
The other helpers that keep him organized and on track for his business goals come in the form of Microsoft 365, DairySmart app, AI imaging bacterial recognition software,RFID technology for traceability to remove human error of handwriting and data entry and Device Magic.
When it comes to fellow entrepreneurs who inspire him, Chris looks to Elon Musk.
“He’s prepared to challenge and disrupt. But not in the sense of being overbearing but the ability to find out through science and trials that you can do some pretty special stuff. You don’t have to be a superhuman, as long as you’ve got the right team around you.”
“My wife Selena and our children are the other people that inspire me every day of this journey. Their passion and support for what we do is infectious.”