New technology expected to have a great impact on animal agriculture

In today’s day and age, new technology seems to appear around every turn. Luckily for those in the agriculture industry of livestock production, some of that new tech and those creative innovations will be able to be put to good use.

Walk Over Weighing (WOW) Systems

From the Nobel Research Institute, these unique systems that are being developed by Nobel’s sensor technology and agronomy groups are designed to measure an animal’s weight each time it goes to water.

“The systems are equipped with wireless connectivity that transmits the date, time, pasture identification, animal electronic identification (EID) and weight the instant an animal walks over the scales. The data is transmitted to a specified computer that enables researchers and producers to access it in real time,” Robyn Peterson, public relations coordinator with Nobel Research Institute, said. “This system consists of Tru-Test brand components (WOW load bar/scale, platform, EID reader and associated electronics), a custom-designed solar power system, and a fabricated metal platform designed to be mobile. Each system is positioned in front of the sole water source, so each animal has to walk over the scales to access water. Ultimately, we would like to develop decision support tools to help producers make management decisions – involving, for example, stocking rate adjustments, marketing opportunities and quick identification of sick animals – on the best-adapted and most profitable forage systems in the region. In order to accomplish this, we need to be able to estimate daily forage biomass and daily animal weight in conjunction with the integration of weather and proven crop models that will help us predict future biomass.”

Embryo Transfer Advancements

Embryo Transfer (ET) is an advanced reproductive technology and a progressive tool that can help you produce more offspring from an elite cow and can extend the impact of outstanding cattle genetics. Well-established ET providers, such as Trans Ova Genetics, offer the option of performing services in-center or on-farm. Conventional (in vivo) ET involves specific hormonal treatment (with follicle stimulating hormone) of donor cows and heifers to cause multiple follicles to ovulate. The donors are bred using artificial insemination following this superovulation regime and estrus or standing heat. Approximately seven days after insemination, embryos are non-surgically collected or “flushed” from the donor’s uterus and transferred fresh into synchronous recipients who will serve as surrogate mothers.

The embryos may also be cryopreserved or frozen to be transferred at a later point in time. The frozen embryos will be maintained in liquid nitrogen storage vessels until they are thawed and transferred.

Hog Respiratory Sensors

The Krobel Corp is working with farmers to reduce mortality rates with the development of a sensor that will track respiratory rate in hogs, since most illness is accompanied by an accelerated respiratory response.

This sensor would be attached to a sow’s nose as she goes into a farrowing stall and will keep track of her respiration rate over a period of time, in order to determine each sow’s average respiratory rate. When the rate is above its average for an extended period of time, the sensor will consider her potentially sick. Krobel Corp plans to have an LED light and a receiver on each sensor. When the farmer goes to do a barn walk-through, a radio signal will be sent out to the sensors and the LEDs will light up on the potentially sick hogs. Presently, sick hogs are identified visually by the farmer during their check. This device will limit human error and will ensure that any sickness is detected early.


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