New Zealand-based dairy cooperative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) has agreed to buy a 50% stake in Israeli company Afimilk for N$108.7 ($69m).

Afimilk manufactures milk meters, behaviour sensors and farm management software.

LIC, partly owned by Fonterra, will acquire the stake from Israeli private equity firm Kibbutz Afikim and Fortissimo.

As part of the deal, Fortissimo will be divesting its entire stake of 30.8% in Afimilk, while Kibbutz will be selling its 19.2% stake.

LIC Chair Murray King said: “It will help ensure LIC’s on-going access to pastoral dairy farming data through the increased use of in-line milk meters and animal monitoring systems (such as collars).

“We believe there are likely to be further development opportunities for in-line milk meters, to increase LIC’s resilience to the threat of disruption to access to pastoral dairy farming data posed as a result of the move away from traditional herd-testing services.”

The investment will enable LIC to access to the data it needs to deliver herd improvement services as well as provide agritech to New Zealand farmers.

LIC will fund the acquisition through debt provided under its existing banking facilities, with the balance paid out of its cash reserves.

King added: “The investment will also help to drive future growth by opening LIC’s access to data on other farming methods beyond pastoral held by Afimilk.

“Access to Afimilk’s resources and information on other farming methods will assist LIC to develop genetic programmes for the farming systems of the future.”