Agriculture & Food special: Cowichan Valley agricultural tech company going international

Damir Wallener, co-founder of Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, scans dairy cows in a barn in Texas for mastitis using new technology his company made. (Submitted photo) Damir Wallener, co-founder of EIO Diagnostics, scans dairy cows in a barn in Texas for mastitis using new technology his company made. (Submitted photo)
A device that scans dairy cows for mastitis, created by Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, is tested in a modern dairy farm. (Submitted photo) A device that scans dairy cows for mastitis, created by Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, is tested in a modern dairy farm. (Submitted photo)
A device that scans dairy cows for mastitis, created by Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, is tested in a modern dairy farm. (Submitted photo)
A device that scans dairy cows for mastitis, created by Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, is tested in a modern dairy farm. (Submitted photo)
Tamara Leigh, left, and Damir Wallener, middle, founders of the Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, are now marketing their products around the globe. (Submitted photo) Tamara Leigh, left, and Damir Wallener, middle, founders of the Cowichan-based EIO Diagnostics, are now marketing their products around the globe. (Submitted photo)

A new Cowichan-based agricultural technology company is making a name for itself on the international stage.

The aptly named EIO Diagnostics has developed a new tool for early detection of udder infections in dairy animals, commonly known as mastitis.

The global dairy industry loses approximately $10 billion in undetected and untreated infections every year, mainly through loss of productivity, so being able to diagnose mastitis early is a big deal for dairy farmers.

Tamara Leigh, co-founder of the start-up company that began in July, 2017, said the first prototype tool was tested on a goat farm in the Valley last year, and the technology is now being recognized and experimented with in several farms in Canada and the U.S.

“Our technology combines advanced sensor imaging and machine learning to detect early indications of infection days before there any physical signs of infection in the udder or the milk,” Leigh said.

“Our technology is an affordable, reliable tool that integrates seamlessly into the way farmers run their milking parlours, and it scales from large, modern, commercial dairies to smallholder farms.”

Leigh said EIO Diagnostics is currently taking its technology into leading dairy barns in British Columbia, California and Texas to get the final “barn truth” on its product before moving into a commercial release.

“While our roots are still on Vancouver Island, we are working on bringing our technology to international markets, including Europe and Africa, in early 2019,” she said.

“The work that we have done through accelerator programs (for start-up companies), including Food-X, Yield Lab and TechStars, has laid a great foundation, and given us the opportunity to tell people about the Cowichan Valley, and how big ideas can come from smaller places.”

Damir Wallener, CEO of EIO Diagnostics and the other co-founder of the company, said it all began last year when a goat farmer and cheese maker in the Valley had a severe mastitis outbreak in his herd, and wanted to find a better tool to monitor infection.

Wallener, who has experience in all phases of product development, and has an extensive patent history in hardware and software development, said he found seeking a solution to detecting mastitis early an interesting challenge.

“I’m a technology guy who is always looking for something new like this,” he said.

“Farmers are very excited by the technology because it’s beneficial for them to have healthy animals as it increases productivity.”

Leigh said EIO Diagnostics is in a “good spot right now”.

“We expect that 2019 will be a big year for us, and we see a lot of expansion in our future,” she said.

“But we will always keep a footprint in the Valley. We have eight people currently on staff, but we expect to have more employees as we expand. There are other applications for this technology in the poultry and swine industries, but dairy is very important and we’re focusing on that right now.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Play revolves around teenagers in thought-provoking dialect

Chemainus Theatre’s I & You focuses on the development of an unlikely friendship

Editorial: The parking paradox

The issue of parking in downtown Duncan is once again rearing its… Continue reading

Duncan Swin Team makes history at junior nationals

In the history of the Duncan Swim Team, fewer than 30 swimmers… Continue reading

Talking about dementia is different when your own family is involved

Wilkinson shares a special story about his own father

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Families want Island Health to take over seniors home

Letter campaign points out longstanding issues at the Comox Valley residence

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

Most Read