eCow Ltd was created in 2007 to make high quality instrumentation for dairy cow monitoring. Toby Mottram had invented the first pH rumen bolus in 2003 for a major biotechnology company who wanted to test the efficacy of a rumen modifying product. Because of the confidentiality clauses we could not talk about that until friends at the University of Brisbane used some old prototypes after the end of the project, the results were published as Continuous monitoring of ruminal pH using wireless telemetry and in more detail Philips et al, pH Telemetry. We sell eBolus worldwide & farmBolus in UK.
- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Agriculture - Livestock
- Market Focus:
- Globally (various continents)
However, although the Silsoe system was very accurate a large number of boluses failed quickly. My experience with that design led me to realise that something was fundamentally wrong with our way of using the glass electrode sensor. These are very reliable and industrially proven over a number of decades in very tough environments so why did they fail ? It was because we did not control orientation. These sensors have air trapped inside them and when inverted the air seeps out through the reference junction and rumen liquor seeps in. By reshaping the bolus so that the sensor tip tends to point downward we completely avoid this problem and our pH sensors stay within 0.3 pH units for 90 days. We also found a way to extend battery life by using a temperature sensor as an interlock for radio transmission. The bolus only operates when the temperature is above 30C which is when it is being calibrated on the bench or inside a cow. We patented these ideas in Patent Application GB0719740.3 in 2007.