Good Businesses 2017

Making the Right Moo

Stellapps is deploying affordable IoT solutions to weed out inefficiencies in dairy farms

Photographs by RA Chandroo

For a group of five friends who couldn’t distinguish a cow from a bull, life has come a full circle at Stellapps. Ravishankar Shiroor, Ranjith Mukundan, Praveen Nale, Venkatesh Seshasayee and Ramakrishna Adukuri, friends for 15 years, were telecom engineers and technologists at heart. They knew machine-to-machine communications or internet of things (IoT) as it is known now, but what they were clueless about was the vertical where they had chosen to deploy it — dairy farming and milk production. “None of us had reared an animal before,” Shiroor guffaws.

The erstwhile embedded engineers of Wipro who also had trysts with companies such as Nokia, Ericsson, and Motorola spent over a year in farms on the outskirts of Bengaluru before taking the plunge in 2011. Years down the lane, Stellapps, short for stellar applications, is India’s first dairy technology solutions company providing analytics-backed management solutions to farms, cooperatives and private dairies. 

The smart milcher
Subsequent to the white revolution during the 1970s, India has emerged as the world’s largest milk producer with 18% market share globally. However, the high milk production is attributed to the large cattle population in India which has been witnessing lower milk yields compared with the US or Europe. The average yield of Indian cattle stands around 4 litres/day, way below that of countries such as the UK, the US and Israel where the numbers are around 22 litres/day, 29 litres/day and 33 litres/day respectively. Low nutrition levels, long dry periods and inferior farm management practices add to the inefficiency, driving yields lower and making it a non-profitable business for farmers.

This is where Stellapps comes in with its comprehensive farm optimisation and monitoring support which aims at helping dairy farmers and cooperatives maximise profits by minimising efforts, by leveraging technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud, mobility and analytics.

Optimising farm operations and milk procurement processes by adding more hardware and sophistication into the farm have been around in the west for some time now, but viable only for large farms which house 500 to 1,000 cows. So, how does Stellapps make

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