The CQUniversity-developed automated livestock management system DataMuster has had its first international deployment, with two Argentinean research stations installing the system this week.
The DataMuster system, which uses walk-over-weigh scales, advanced data analytics and remote communication technologies, to monitor growth and reproductive performance, has been connected to a system developed by Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), which automatically measures the amount of grain consumed by each individual animal in a feedlot.
CQUniversity’s Prof Dave Swain said that joining the two systems together would enable beef producers to identify animals which convert the least amount of feed into the maximum amount of beef in the shortest period of time.
“Together the systems measure, analyse data and report via app the exact amount of feed consumed and the corresponding daily weight gain of individual animals,” Prof Swain said.
“This will allow producers to select the genetics which will deliver maximum productivity with minimum impact on their grazing environment.”
CQUniversity and INTA have been collaborating for two years, with the recent deployments made possible after receiving grant funding from the Council on Australia Latin America Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The grant provided for INTA staff to travel to Australia to work with CQUniversity researchers on connecting the electronic hardware of the two systems, and centralise data management.
The grant also enabled CQUniversity staff to travel to Argentina to install DataMuster, as well as meet with industry leaders and potential commercial partners to ensure the technology can become readily available to farmers in both countries.
At a genetic evaluation program field day held this week at INTA’s Anguil Research Station more than 50 Argentinean cattle breeders inspected the DataMuster deployment and its integration with the INTA net feed intake measurement system.
INTA’s National Meat Program Coordinator Dr Anibal Pordomingo said that while the use of electronic identification systems was mandatory in Australia, their adoption was only now beginning to gather momentum in Argentina.
“So the time is right to bring together technologies like our net feed intake unit and DataMuster, which can use eID to automatically gather the information producers need to make better management decisions,” Dr Pordomingo said.
CQUniversity has established DataMuster as an ag-tech start-up company to deliver the technology to the beef industry and maximise the impact of its research programs to the community.
DataMuster’s web-based platform provides cattle producers with the critical information they need for more timely and precise management decisions on stocking rates, mustering and marketing dates, feed availability, and animal health treatments.