With a global population still favoring traditional animal-based nourishments, the agtech revolution aims to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of agriculture, drawing inspiration from the digitized healthcare sector. Technology on the farm addresses agriculture’s challenges, and those ready for this disruptive innovation, investing in and retaining skilled talent, will achieve unprecedented productivity and prosperity.
With a global population of 8 billion still favoring milk, meat, and eggs as their primary sources of nourishment, animals will require precise and efficient feeding. In Alltech’s last global feed survey the production of animal feed now exceeds 1.2 billion tons. However, agriculture isn’t as efficient or sustainable as it could be, creating the incentive for agtech to transform the feed industry. The agtech revolution is coming, so how can the feed industry prepare?
The healthcare industry is an example of an industry that has already embraced digital innovations, employing a test-and-refine approach to enhance client satisfaction. Robots, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) are daily fixtures in hospitals, care facilities, and even households. As agriculture undergoes its own technological transformation, the healthcare sector offers valuable insights into how agtech will redefine work dynamics and leadership. What can we learn from their experience?
At the Aalborg University Hospital, robots efficiently transport up to 3,000 blood samples at a stable temperature to ensure accurate analysis and enhanced patient care. From logistics to assisting surgeries, robots are making tasks easier for low and high-skilled laborers.
Likewise, AviSense is an affordable poultry robot that moves through sheds to stimulate the chickens and collect data. Robots like these offer cost-effective solutions to labor shortages, and their applications are only expected to grow.
INTERNET OF THINGS (IOTS)
IoT technology, smart devices like Fitbits and Apple Watches, are changing the game in our hospitals. Wearable health devices provide real time relevant data for doctors and consultants, freeing bedside staff from constant monitoring.
Similar IoT uses are being applied in the feed industry. Companies like XSights use IOT technology on pigs, tracking their movements and health, and companies like BinSentry offer reliable inventory monitoring of on-farm feed bins using IoT sensors to help feedmills and vertical integrators improve operational efficiency and cut costs.
IoT devices can instantly aggregate accurate agronomic data in one place for easier monitoring which guides precise resource allocation and improves yield and sustainability.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Clinicians’ mistakes cost the healthcare industry over $2 billion annually and the lives of over 200,000 people. Artificial intelligence (AI) can play a critical role in eliminating this. Errors caused by fatigue, memory, lack of experience or training and misapprehensions are significantly reduced when AI supports decision-making.
Farming is awash in data, so artificial intelligence helps by identifying patterns in the performance of animals and crops. Birdoo uses AI systems to estimate the weight of Broiler chickens, Buhler uses AI vision to detect mycotoxin levels in the feed, and Cainthus uses AI to monitor feed for Dairy cows.
The use of AI computations and big data further allow farmers to address the real complexity they face of weather, genetics, market turbulence and the microbiome of soil and the animals they feed.
THE IMPACTS ON LABOR
The animal feed industry is ripe for disruption. More than most industries, animal agriculture has been slow to embrace the strategies that will make companies resilient in face of change, namely, preparing for new types of jobs and embracing diversity in its workforce.
Traditionally, agriculture has always had a “people problem” with job growth predicted to increase only by 1%. But automation could help. If technology replaces the jobs laborers don’t want to do, the opportunity will be for stimulating, higher-paying work that attracts and retains an adaptable workforce.
As we’ve seen in hospitals, the adoption of technology has not led to fewer doctors, nurses or caregivers. Human labor is not being eliminated, but the jobs humans fulfill have shifted. In fact, medical jobs have a 19% job growth and will create more than 2.3 million jobs in the next few years – the best job outlook of any field.