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Automated livestock management systems (ALMS) have proved as accurate as traditional manual data gathering methods in extensive trials in Central Queensland.

CQUniversity’s DataMuster system was used to gather and analyse daily weight gain information from cattle in a herd at Emerald, which was also weighed regularly using traditional crush-side methods for Breedplan standards.

The trial revealed that the information gathered using ALMS - comprised of walk-over-weigh scales, and in situ computing - provided more regular data on animal performance, while delivering extremely accurate animal weight records.

CQUniversity Professor Dave Swain said this was a significant moment for Australia’s northern beef cattle producers.

"They now have access to a simple, affordable and accurate system which will allow them to participate in performance recording activities,” Prof. Swain said.

Speaking at Argentina’s Animal Production Association (AAPA) conference in Mar del Plata, CQUniversity’s Professor Dave Swain detailed how the use of Edge Computing methods were breaking down the tyrannies of distance in remote Australian production systems.

The AAPA conference attracted more than 250 delegates from around the world, with experts sharing more than 380 research papers reporting results from trials conducted in 15 different countries as well as the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

AAPA is Argentina’s premiere research conference bringing together all disciplines of livestock research. As well as facilitating the exchange of ideas between local researchers and producers, the conference features a select group of invited international speakers from around the world.

Prof Swain told the conference that CQUni’s application of Edge Computing methods was unlocking new opportunities to collect, analyse and communicate data automatically gathered using paddock-based sensors in remote locations.

“A core component of the DataMuster system is our paddock-based DataHub, which features a micro-computer that connects and analyses data gathered from equipment including walk-over-weigh scales, electronic identification, and water monitoring,” Prof Swain said.

“The information analysis and storage structure we have implemented will allow producers to access accurate and validated data sets that support participation in benchmarking activities such as carbon trading linked to an emerging blockchain system.”

CQUniversity is establishing DataMuster as a stand-alone agri-tech start-up company, to transition the technology from a research platform to a system that is commercially available to producers both in Australia and around the world.

The system has attracted strong interest from Argentina’s beef industry and research community, with DataMuster now installed at two government research stations as part of a research collaboration supported by the Council on Australia Latin America Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


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