In many rural parts of the developing world, livestock and agriculture are integral to families' survival and ability to accumulate wealth. Because of this, the health and productivity of a family's animals and crops are inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of the family. An increase in animal productivity directly translates to improved income and health for the family.
In March 2014, DFA was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to take our Bovine heat (estrus) detection diagnostic to the next level of development. Early detection of heat saves the farmer money by reducing the costs of unnecessary inseminations and improving milk production. Traditional methods for detecting heat rely on behavioral changes that often are not apparent in small herds on small farms where the cows do not have much space to roam and interact. Our test will allow minimally-trained animal health technicians to accurately test for heat using a whole blood sample -- which will enable heat detection in cows that have not yet started to produce milk or are no longer producing milk.
This program is a continuation of a 2011 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to leverage our patterned paper-based diagnostic technology platform to develop diagnostics to improve farmer incomes in sub-Saharan Africa. DFA's low-cost diagnostics will enable farmers to reduce loss, optimize production, and verify quality – enabling them to achieve better dairy productivity.