Remote monitoring of cattle performance: a path forward to long term sustainability

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $196,500
Commodity: Multiple Livestock
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Graham Plastow

A 1% increase in beef feed efficiency at the pasture level would return $11M to the sector.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Feed intake, growth, carcass yield and fatness, methane production and cattle behaviour are measured by a range of technologies to identify the best animals for breeding or production, or to identify those animals which are sick and require treatment. Currently, this requires specialist equipment that are relatively invasive and require significant handling and labour.

A new technology, imaging systems, offer a number of potential advantages: reduced labour, increased accuracy of measurement or prediction, new phenotypes, and improved animal welfare. This research will assess the validity of this new technology.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

This new technology will support improved competitiveness and sustainability and the development of precision beef production in Alberta. Through this research, players along the food value chain will be able to make focused adjustments to reduce waste, reduce cost, reduce carbon emissions and subsequently improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Alberta's beef sector.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

As soon as research activities commence, findings will be shared through influential cow-calf producers. Results will be disseminated as widely as possible.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.