Global precision livestock outfit eyes off Australia's grainfed forecasts

Global precision livestock outfit eyes off Australia's grainfed forecasts

Beef
SPOT ON: GrowSafe measures individual animal partial body weights and watering behavior while animals drink at the water trough. The technology weighs every second an animal is standing at the trough, which can equate up to 450 weights a day.

SPOT ON: GrowSafe measures individual animal partial body weights and watering behavior while animals drink at the water trough. The technology weighs every second an animal is standing at the trough, which can equate up to 450 weights a day.

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Vytelle, Growsafe combine, launch new program for feedlots.

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GLOBAL precision livestock company Vytelle is planning big moves on the Australian market, seeing the beef industry here as a fast uptaker of cutting-edge technology and likely to be at the forefront of tapping into the expected post-COVID growth in demand for high-quality, sustainably-produced protein.

Projections for grain feeding to play a larger role in the country's overall beef production during the next decade are one of the key things the big bovine biotechnology outfit has its eye on.

Vytelle is the result of the recent joining of Vytelle IVF and Growsafe Systems, a provider of gear and software for collecting data on cattle which now has a footprint in 16 countries.

Growsafe bins are already being used in several Australian feedlots to collect information on genetics, notably in progeny trials, and Vytelle believes the feedback from those partnerships paints a picture of big potential for the technology here.

Vice president of international commercial operations Lisa Rumsfeld said the logic behind the joining of the two companies was Growsafe working with producers on identifying, measuring and selecting feed efficient genetics and Vytelle working to speed up the uptake of those genetics.

Through it's Growsafe arm, Vytelle has just launched what it is calling the Beef Marketing Program, designed specifically for feedlots with the aim of providing unique insights in individual animal performance that translates to growth management, labour optimisation and improved animal wellbeing. The program comprises hardware, software, a comprehensive warranty program and a suite of analytics services. Vytelle plans on marketing it strongly in Australia.

The company is well aware of the strong forecasts for growth in grainfed beef in Australia - some analysts say grainfed exports to China alone could triple by 2030.

"Beef is a really important industry in Australia and there is a lot of multi stakeholder involvement helping to promote agtech," Ms Rumsfeld said.

"We see Australian beef as very progressive on a global scale.

"The United States is also massively important to us but it can be slower to take up innovation because it is so big - smaller countries tend to me smart innovators."

Vytelle will set up an IVF laboratory in Australia in the first quarter of next year.

Ms Rumsfeld said the pressure to be more efficient and for traceability and welfare credentials would underpin Vytelle's shift into markets like Australia.

"Beef producers face a triple challenge - a growing population we need to feed, a sustainability discussion going on and then farmer profitability. This triple threat is what we are addressing," she said.

VP of Growsafe Operations Gareth Llewelyn said global beef industries now faced a need to produce more with fewer resources and in a more sustainable manner that was unlike any other time in history.

He believes the Beef Marketing Program can transform how feedlots manage their operations.

"The powerful combination of GrowSafe hardware and analytics enables feedlot managers to manage animals as individuals, reducing variation, optimizing this use of feed and predicting carcass weights and harvest dates. The net result is a significant boost to profitability," he said.

Installed near water troughs, the Growsafe gear measures partial body weight, collecting up to 500 individual weights on animal in a single day. Through an algorithm based on breed and sex, it calculates, in a highly accurate way, a liveweight.

"What operators see in their dashboard is a forecast performance - for example a 40-day forecast hot carcase weight - which allows feedlots to better market animals when they are ready for harvest and identify any emerging animal welfare issues," Ms Rumsfeld said.

Growsafe's feedlot marketing director Guy Ficeto said data collection and analysis of individual animal performance and behaviour was critical to the future of optimising production in feedlots.

"Feedlot managers can improve the efficiency of their operations by viewing the daily performance of animals and optimising labour around the data," he said.

"Concurrently, managers can use insights of the program to monitor the wellbeing of animals by detecting changes in behaviours."

Vytelle is part of the UK-based Wheatsheaf Group, an international investor in food and agriculture focused on creating efficiencies in the production and distribution of food.

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The story Global precision livestock outfit eyes off Australia's grainfed forecasts first appeared on Farm Online.

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