Technology Applications: A Way Forward in Livestock Production

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Farmer using smartphone to monitor herd with tags

The novel technologies are new for Pakistani livestock managers. However, the quantum of blessings associated with animal product technologies will soon go in top gear and will change the scenario. Private sector is in a fast run to have their lions’ portion in markets however, public sector must come up with long term planning for better benefits for livestock farmers.

By Prof. Dr. Abdullah G. Arijo

There is every reason to believe that the age of animal husbandry dates back 5000 BC and archaeological shreds of evidence suggest that the exploitation of the Indus River floodplains and the use of the plough in early Harappan times were matters of supreme importance.

Quite a few species of wheat, barley and rice have been recorded in Harappan times.  Other crops include dates, melon, sesame, and varieties of leguminous plants, such as field peas. From Chanhu-Jo-daro, seeds of mustard have been obtained. Finally, there is evidence that cotton was cultivated and used for textiles.

Similarly, several domesticated animal species have been found in excavations at the Harappan cities including humped cattle, Bos indicus, the buffalo, B. bubalis sheep, goats, camel and the ass. The bones of domestic fowl reveal that these fowl were domesticated from the indigenous jungle fowl. Finally, the cat and the dog were both domesticated. Present, but not necessarily as a domesticated species, is the elephant. The horse is possibly present but extremely rare and only present in the last stages of the Harappan Period.

In any agrion society, livestock plays to keep a position. Milk, meat and hide are some of few products to mention. Due to increase in population, the pace of livestock production has been discouraging hence there has been an effort to embark upon approaches to introduce animal product technologies aimed at increasing the production potential for human welfare.

Ever since the industrial revolution has been in place, quite a few attractive applications have played a significant role in uplifting the live standards of the common man.  The benefits of new technology are plentiful and include increased cost efficiency, improved animal welfare, improved working conditions, better production monitoring (e.g. remote monitoring, access to real-time data) and improved provision of important production data.

Moreover, technology is developing rapidly. In this development, the transfer of computer systems and software to the application has made an important contribution. Technologic instruments made farmers can work more comfortable and increased animal production efficiency and profitability. Therefore, technologic developments are the main research area for animal productivity and sustainability. Many technologic equipment and tools made animal husbandry easier and comfortable. Especially management decisions and applications are affected highly ratio with this rapid development. In animal husbandry management decisions that need to be done daily are configured according to the correctness of the decisions to be made. At this point, smart systems give many opportunities for farmers. Milking, feeding, environmental control, reproductive performance constitutes every day jobs most affected by correct management decisions. Human errors in this work and decisions made a big effect on last product quality and profitability are not able to be risked. This article deals with valuable information on the latest challenges and key innovations affecting the animal husbandry. Also, innovative approaches and applications for animal husbandry are tried to be summarized with detail latest research results.

Thornton and his co-workers a decade back gave a basic realization that the increased world population is demanding more reliable quality livestock products the number of farms is decreasing but the number of animals for per farm and animal production is increasing in addition to this trend livestock production problems also increasing. While research has revealed that the solution to these problems comes from multidisciplinary studies from very different fields such as technology. In large enterprises, it is not possible to obtain the expected performance without using technology and automation systems from animals with very high genetic values. Daily work on livestock farming is simple in and standard application routinely Data monitoring in the modern dairy farm enables the ongoing control of production, animal health, and welfare.

The new technology means producers can work easier and improve cattle welfare, production efficiency, and profitability. Technologic developments provide more efficient, profitable and fast solutions for farmers to get on-time process using management and direct manipulation possibilities. Continuous monitoring of disease and its careful management is essential for the well-being of an animal management

The very application of the use of technologies in livestock management and animal husbandry is associated with realizing the importance of animal husbandry. Animal husbandry deals with the feeding, breeding, housing and health care of livestock for getting maximum benefits. Livestock refers to farm animals (domesticated animals) such as cow, sheep, etc. kept by humans for a useful commercial purpose.

Animal production is the technology applied to the keeping of animals for profit. It includes feeding, breeding, housing and marketing. Scientists study the conditions in which animals are raised as well as how animal products are manufactured and marketed to produce good quality of life for animals.

Livestock is domesticated animals raised to produce commodities such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. Most of the times the term Livestock is used to refer to animals that are bred for consumption, while it can be referred to farmed ruminants, such as cattle and goats. Globally, livestock production is the largest user of agricultural land.

There is so much to look at livestock technology. Meat production is expected to double by 2020 fueled by population growth. Changes in diet and rising income levels will also contribute to meat consumption. There will be pressure on farmers to feed more people, with fewer resources. Besides, there is so much for livestock production managers to look at new technologies that can be used in a diversified manner as under.

 Novel Agriculture

Precision agriculture for the next generation of farmers and it includes new technologies like satellite, global positioning systems, sensors and monitors for irrigation, planting and fertilizing equipment, just to name a few. Farmers have a variety of technology options that improve their farming operation, from drones to weather monitoring systems and more.

We live in a digital age with vast amounts of data. Trillions of sensors are used in appliances, packages, farm animals & more. The amount of big data used in raising livestock will only continue to grow. The world food economy is driven by the shift in diet and food consumption.

By leveraging big data, the livestock production sector will become more efficient.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is another new technology that is being used to raise livestock. This technology connects the physical world with the digital world and offers many applications in the livestock production sector. With this technology, livestock production managers will have a better understanding of their environment. The IoT can empower livestock production managers with information.  Internet of things will alert them to how and when to intervene in feeding and caring for animals.

These days, mobile sensors are used to track the health of animals and increase productivity.

It is hoped that a proper use of this technology may reduce the mortality rate of cows by 80%. Artificial intelligence and robotics are yet another novel technology to help. Artificial Intelligence is already being used in raising livestock. A 2017 PwC survey of global executives reported 54% of farmers are making large investments in AI. Automated milking robots, for instance, can control and milk many cows within a short time. While the animal consumes its feed ration through a sensor-controlled mechanical arm, the animal is milked. AI can now track things like age, milk quality or the animal’s health condition.

These novel technologies are new for Pakistani livestock managers. However, the quantum of blessings associated with animal product technologies will soon go in top gear and will change the scenario. Private sector is in a fast run to have their lions’ portion in markets, however, public sector must come up with long term planning for better benefits for livestock farmers.

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The writer is Chairman, Department of Parasitology, Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam, Sindh

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