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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Renovated Lake Cowichan town hall will include emergency operations centre

Upgrade project expected to be complete within months

Business notes: Realtors raise $10,000 for Nourish Cowichan

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

North Cowichan mayor answers questions about new RCMP detachment

The current building went up in 1980, when there were 30 people working there.

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read