Big data to improve beef and dairy productivity in New Zealand
A UK-New Zealand Agri-Tech partnership
Agri-EPI Centre, United Kingdom, and Massey University, New Zealand are collaborating to understand the variation in productivity across New Zealand’s beef and dairy sector, and how this variation relates to greenhouse gas emissions per unit of food produced. Involving industrial partners in both New Zealand and the UK this is an important project that is developing a working model for cooperation between the UK and NZ science and agricultural communities.
During 2017/18, Innovate UK, funded Agri-EPI and industry partners Afimilk, Innovent Technologies and Gallagher Group, to install infrastructure to collect data on New Zealand farms, using a range of precision agriculture equipment including automated weighing equipment, 3D camera technology and animal sensing.
The technology was installed on two farms: Massey University’s Dairy Farm (Massey No 1. Dairy) at Palmerston North, and a beef finishing unit at Waitatapia Station.
Reduced environmental impact
A current project funded by the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries, and involving industrial partners in both New Zealand and the UK, including Abacus Bio, Dairy NZ and Defra, is helping to increase understanding of the impact of beef and dairy production on greenhouse gas production, and therefore how to reduce the environmental impacts of these sectors and improve their sustainability.
It is particularly timely given the substantial predicted growth and adoption in Precision Livestock Agriculture Technology by the dairy sector.