The Growing Need for Beef Monitoring in a Changing World
As the global population grows and increased food consumption places pressure on limited resources, the role of farmers becomes more challenging. In the case of beef farmers and producers, part of the answer lies in beef monitoring solutions, which can help them automate and optimize farm processes with less labor, enhance cattle care, and improve economic returns.
The world’s population is growing fast. Approaching 8 billion people in 2020, it is expected to reach 9.7 billion people in 2050. While the number of mouths to feed continues to grow, pressure on farmland, natural areas, fresh water, and oceans is increasing. This escalating need to produce more food with already limited resources has led agriculturalists, agribusinesses, and policy makers to concentrate more on developing innovative technologies for sustainable food production. Moreover, many consumers wish to know where their food comes from and how production methods align with their values. To deliver this information with credibility, transparency in the food-supply chain is required.
In addition, population migration from rural areas to cities has also made it harder for farmers, ranchers, and cattle feeders to find labor, and few young people can afford to buy their own land for production agriculture. So just when there is more to do, the beef producer population is growing older and skilled labor is harder to come by.
For today’s cattle producer, global trends and relentless market forces can seem frightening and hostile. In fact, while aligning with regulations or traceability is part of doing business, the costs imposed bring little in economic payback and some see these new rules as a loss of independence.
With all these factors at play, the lives of beef producers are becoming more challenging.
The good news is that innovations from Allflex can help beef producers respond to growing customer interest in quality meats, animal welfare, and food transparency. In fact, advanced digital identification, beef management, and DNA collection solutions can even give farmers, food producers, and processors the automation and insights they need to thrive in changing times.
Allflex solutions – the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Allflex offers a wide range of solutions that together enable beef producers to boost their productivity with fewer resources:
- Allflex monitoring solutions help breeders, cow-calf producers, and feedlot managers automate the detection of health and reproductive signals, which is especially valuable in breeding, raising, and finishing cattle.
- Allflex electronic identification products enable immediate and accurate management of identity and animal performance data, enhancing decisions and profitability while also providing a track-and-trace backbone in the supply chain.
- Allflex products for DNA collection make it easier to use genomics. DNA is an ideal genetic fingerprint for ID systems, and producers use genomic data to manage their future by breeding better herds with a capacity to produce higher volumes of top-quality beef.
- Allflex technology that uses digital processes to customize visual tags for a ranch, breed or value-added program helps producers to manage their brand in marketing by leveraging what was previously simply a numbering tool.
Digitalizing precision beef production through automation
Allflex beef monitoring solutions, such as SenseHub™ Beef for seedstock and cow-calf operators, automate many management processes. This helps ranchers be more productive with inputs and labor, increase reproductive rates, and enhance animal health. Quantified Ag® for feedlot cattle is the latest addition to an exciting portfolio of tools that monitor health in the finishing phase.
Advanced health monitoring for improved animal wellbeing
Typically, ranchers in seedstock and cow-calf production, and pen riders in feedlots, use visual observation to detect sick cattle. With Allflex monitoring solutions, which integrate sensor, data and software, cattle producers can identify health issues in individual animals at early onset, often before clinical signs appear. Empowered with information about the health of their cattle, producers can make proactive, timely decisions about intervention and treatment, reduce medical and mortality costs, improve the judicious use of antibiotics or other medical inputs, and reduce incidence of chronic problems like bovine respiratory disease or other ailments.
Allflex SenseHub Beef monitoring solutions also provide rumination monitoring, which gives cow-calf producers a useful indication of any changes in a cow’s condition. They can also monitor their herd’s reaction to stressful situations and define distress alerts to indicate problems that require immediate attention. In addition, accurate health reports provide actionable insights about each cow to enable individualized health management. This contributes to the optimization of health, growth, and status in heifer development, cow breeding, calving, and weaning phases.
Precision livestock monitoring leads to better operating profit
Better heifer fertility is important whether a ranch uses bulls or artificial insemination (AI). For this reason, accurate puberty detection in heifers and natural heats in cows is a game changer. SenseHub Beef enhances advanced reproduction methods such as artificial insemination. Seedstock and cow-calf producers use AI to control which cows are bred with which bulls, thus speeding up intentional gains in herd genetics. Cows are bred for superior genetics, fostering new generations of high-quality breeding cattle.
Every year, cow-calf producers replace 10% to 20% of their cows with new heifers born on their ranch, and choosing which cows to keep is a major risk factor. Early pubescent heifers are more fertile, raise productive calves and are more efficient.
For AI, detecting natural estrus cycles can help producers save money on semen, pharmaceuticals, labor, and pregnancy hormones, which are part of a management system to time ovulation with insemination. This enables beef farmers to optimize conception rates, shorten their calving interval, and align breeding with cows’ natural cycles.
In addition, monitoring provides beef cattle farmers with timely and actionable insights that enable them to make informed decisions about rations, feeding protocols, and other nutrition issues. Producers can improve their herd nutrition to optimize health and growth by quickly understanding how their cows react to ration adjustments and other environmental changes. With these insights, beef producers can increase efficiency and run a more sustainable operation that controls expenses, reduces waste, and saves time.
One thing is clear. As the world changes and evolves, there is an ever-increasing need for automated monitoring solutions that can help us bridge the gaps, provide better care for livestock, and increase transparency across the food supply chain.
At Allflex, we believe in giving farmers the technology and information they need to optimize production outcomes for a healthy and high-quality food supply.