Facial recognition could soon provide farmers with updates on the health of their livestock, thanks to an Irish computer company.

Cainthus said farmers could install surveillance cameras in paddocks to help monitor cow feeding patterns. By using facial recognition, farmers and vets will be able to track a cow's food and drink intake, body temperature and behaviour.

The combined analytics can lead to higher milk yields, safer reproduction and better health for the cows, said the company.

With an investment by US company Cargill, Cainthus announced on Wednesday (31 January) that the technology will be tested this year. President and co-founder of Cainthus, David Hunt, said the deal with Cargill would be a "game changer" for farmers.

"We are enthused about what this partnership will mean for farmers across the world," Hunt said, according to the Irish Times.

"Cargill is a natural partner for us, given their focus on bringing a world-class digital capability to the market and their understanding of how technology will truly help farmers succeed.

"We think this partnership will be a game changer for farmers because it will allow them to efficiently scale their business."

Cargill managing director Sri Raj Kantamneni said the companies "shared a vision".

"Our customers' ability to make proactive and predictive decisions to improve their farm's efficiency, enhance animal health and wellbeing, reduce animal loss, and ultimately increase farm profitability are significantly enhanced with this technology," Kantamneni said.

Facial recognition was rolled out on the iPhone X last year and has had its embarrassing moments. Although a cow unlocking your iPhone may still be a while off (if ever), Apple is always adding to the list of animojis.

Who knows, farmers may one day be using facial recognition to unlock their phones and run their farms.