Krobel Corp: Low-cost health monitoring for pigs

Kenny Strobel (left) and Ryan Kruse (right). Photo courtesy of KrobelCorp.

Two high school friends are attempting to decrease the mortality rate of hogs with a monitoring device that alerts farmers when the animal may be sick.

Krobel Corp, started by Ryan Kruse and Kenny Strobel, is developing a sow health monitor that detects if a sow is about to get sick or go into farrowing.

How it works

Krobel Corp’s low-cost health monitoring device is a device that monitors the respiratory rate of an individual hog. It will notify farmers of potentially sick animals, allowing for better treatment and containment.

The device will notify farmers of potentially sick animals, allowing for better treatment and containment. Attaching to the hog’s snout, the device will track respiratory rate based on air temperature changes as the animal inhales and exhales.

The device will store the hog’s respiratory rate information for the previous ten days, which will be used to determine an expected range. If the device finds that the hog’s respiratory rate is out of the expected range for an extended period of time, the device will consider the hog as potentially sick and notify the farmer. By requiring a prolonged change in respiratory rate, the device will avoid false alarms caused by short-term exercise or excitement.

Each device will have a small LED and receiver. This will provide a simple interface between the farmer and the devices. When the farmer is about to walk through the barn to inspect the hogs, a radio signal will be sent out to notify the devices via their receivers. The LEDs will then be used to indicate to the farmer whether or not the corresponding hogs are potentially sick.

Future plans?

Krobel Corp is one of five companies participating in the 2018 cohort of the Iowa Agritech Accelerator.

“We’re early compared to a lot of the other startups,” Krobel said. “We’re just trying to get everything processed. Right now we’re trying to work out our finances, business model, and everything else.”

Krobel Corp is currently in the process of testing and going through data collection. They hope to have a prototype ready by the end of the summer.

“For us right now, the biggest challenge is on the business side of things. We feel pretty confident about the concept of what we’re trying to do and the impacts it could have on the industry,” Kruse said. “That’s one of the great things about being at the accelerator. Not only are they helping us with product development, but they have a lot to offer on the business side of things as well.”