Customer care and machine learning: why one North Island farmer chose Ida above the rest

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It’s not often that one finds something on Facebook that is relevant, comes at the perfect time and leads to a stellar purchasing decision. But that’s exactly what happened one day when North Island dairy farmer Steve Holdem was scrolling through Facebook, and saw a video for Ida, the intelligent dairy assistant.

“We had been thinking about getting sensors for the cows on our farm,” says Steve, who hired Ida in the middle of 2021. At the time, Steve was comparing pricing and offerings for other animal monitoring solutions. “We opted for Ida because everything was included in the package. We didn’t need to upgrade or pay any extra for all the features. We were also impressed by Ida’s artificial intelligence - she’s always learning and improving, and her insights are specific to your farm and herd”.

Farm Overview


Steve Holdem


Co-owner, together with wife Paula


Mamaku, Bay of Plenty

Dairy Cows



300 hectares

Hired Ida


Steve and his wife Paula, along with Steve’s parents, Jeff and Glenys, bought their 300 hectare, 700-cow farm in the Bay of Plenty’s Mamaku, near Rotorua five years ago. Aside from their own efficiency and financial goals, there are also regional environmental obligations. Their farm is in the Lake Rotorua catchment area, whose regional council requires all farms in the region to reduce nitrogen leaching. “We want to do all we can for this sensitive catchment area, with business success at top of mind too”.

Hitting these environmental and business goals requires careful planning and time from the Holdems. Having a well-run and monitored farm without physically being in the paddock is critical. “One of our biggest challenges was not being able to monitor the herd the whole time, which is something you can only do if you’re always with the cows,” says Steve. “We needed a way to monitor the herd that could take the human element away, especially when members of our team were on leave”.

Ida has yielded excellent health results for Holdem Dairy. “The health insights have been excellent,” says Steve. “When we get a health alert about a cow, she gets drafted out. This triggers the team to do health and temperature checks, so sick cows can be treated early”. Ida has picked up on cases of mastitis earlier than the team would have, and the cows have therefore been treated swiftly. “I also really value Ida’s effortless pre-mating heat detection feature, and I’m looking forward to a change in our transition cow management”.

Another “X-factor” for Steve has been the service from the Ida team. “Everyone has a great attitude and wants us to succeed with Ida as much as we do,” says Steve. “They walked us through the setup and workings, and made sure Ida is set up well with our farm management software. Our team and I are enjoying learning to use Ida to her full potential”.

Steve and Paula looking forward to working with Ida for the next mating season and they are optimistic that they’ll have good in-calf rates. “I’m excited for the next 10 years and absolutely recommend Ida to farmers,” concludes Steve. “You don’t know what you need until you have it".

See below for more of Steve's great experience with Ida.