Livestock systems occupy approximately 30% of the earth ice-free surface area.
The livestock sector employs people both directly and indirectly around the world (Thornton et al., 2009), and has helped sustain livelihood.
With the rise in technology in the livestock sector, what does the future entail? How will farming or rangelands be sustained and become more sustainable in the future?
A series of questions may arise from all angles, a simple response would be: "the future is in our hands".
Today’s edition postulates on future livestock farming prospects around the world.
Future prospects in livestock farming
Presently, livestock production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in developing countries which has helped boost the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With development in an area, technology is mostly used. As an example we could consider how, historically, traction from domesticated animals such as cattle or donkeys was a source of pride in a community. With the change of times traction from animals was replaced by tractors, which meant less people working in a field and more time saved for other activities on the farm.
Time as a component of leveraging is heavily factored into the equation when introducing innovative techniques in livestock farming.
Technology can help save time, along with improving processes, breed selection, animal health and all aspects regarding livestock systems’ productivity, sustainability and efficiency.
Valuable information sharing through internet is mostly heightened, therefore, anyone interested in starting up a venture is able to do so. The use of technical devices would ensure the success of livestock production in future.
Let’s talk about 3 of the most outstanding trends at everyone’s reach in the very next future.
Livestock Data for better understanding of animal needs
Currently, engineers and scientists are working towards sustainable animal monitoring through the use of GPS and other technical devices. These have proven to be a success, as a farmer can monitor progress of an animal from a distance. Hence, through continuous research farmers would be encouraged to use such devices in monitoring livestock on farms.
Intelligent feeding schemes to optimize cost/benefit ratio
Different feed rations are formulated to meet the specific requirements of domesticated animals on farms. Hence, feed formulating companies in conjunction with veterinarians are able to advice farmers on what feed ration is ideal for a growing piglet or a chick.Unlike in the past, when domesticated animals had to fend for themselves, currently a significant number of cattle and other livestock are kept in intensive systems and their nutrition is strictly regulated and monitored for a better yield and a more robust animal health.
Genetic improvement as a key for better livestock production
The use of genetics and efficient breeding schemes in livestock production has resulted in weaker genes being suppressed. An illustrated example would be increase in milk production, such that, through strategic research, specific breed lines are crossed to increase milk production. Furthermore, egg production in poultry sector has rampantly increased, which means through successive breeding, farmers are able to specialize in a breed that has high egg production. Therefore, the continuous use of genetics and breeding in the future, not only creates employment but empowers the agriculture sector as a whole.
In summary, livestock farming is evolving at an incredible fast speed. Postulates are shared by scientists to encourage farming communities and to continue with their different ventures in agriculture. Very affordable tools can be adopted, to allow even small farms to take a leap into the future and adapt to the forthcoming innovations and market demands.
- Steinfeld, H., Gerber, P., Wassenaar, T., Castel, V., Rosales, M. & de Haan, C. 2006.
- Livestock’s long shadow: environmental issues and options. Rome, Italy: FAO.
- Thornton, P. K., van de Steeg, J., Notenbaert, A. & Herrero, M. 2009 The impacts of climate change on livestock and livestock systems in developing countries: a review of what we know and what we need to know. Agric. Syst. 101, 113 –127.
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