Data driven: Harry Lawson on his Victorian property that is using Vytelle's systems to collect real time information about his cattle.

Data driven: Harry Lawson on his Victorian property that is using Vytelle's systems to collect real time information about his cattle.

Technology partner delivers tools for the more sustainable beef industry of the future

Technology partner delivers tools for the more sustainable beef industry of the future

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Leading beef breeder Harry Lawson jokes that the global precision livestock company Vytelle would know before him if one of his bulls was sick.

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This is branded content for Vytelle.

Leading beef breeder Harry Lawson jokes that the global precision livestock company Vytelle would know before him if one of his bulls was sick.

Mr Lawson, the principal of Lawsons Angus - one of Australia's largest cattle seedstock businesses - kicks off his morning by studying the reports he receives from Vytelle providing detailed insights into how each of the cattle on his Victorian property are performing.

The analytics draw on the continual real-time data being gathered in the paddock via the Vytelle SENSE system that collects more than eight million data points daily, including feed intake and weight gain.

"There was one day last year when the report showed one animal was dropping three kilos a day. My son went out and found him and he had pink eye," Mr Lawson said. "It meant we could treat him early and get him back on track which is good for the welfare of the animal but also the economics of the business."

A trained geneticist, Mr Lawson is a passionate fan of the potential of harnessing data as a powerful management tool to deliver an accurate picture of individual cattle performance, and to support him in his mission to develop the most sustainable and efficient beef cattle possible.

In 2018, Mr Lawson made the decision to join Vytelle's Beef Genetics Program with the goal of collecting precise data that would allow him to select more feed efficient animals for his breeding program, and develop their beef brand, Low Carbon Beef by Lawsons Angus.

The Vytelle SENSE platform collects real-time data each time cattle enter the feeding pens.

The Vytelle SENSE platform collects real-time data each time cattle enter the feeding pens.

The Beef Genetics Program allows breeders to measure, identify and select for feed efficient trait genetics to improve overall profitability while also reducing methane and manure production and sustainably producing more beef with fewer resources.

Animals that are energy efficient and grow faster have significantly lower "emissions intensity" - which is the amount of CO2 per kilogram of beef produced.

"Being able to measure food intake was the missing link we needed," Mr Lawson said. "The animals life starts when they're calves and we had their birth weight, weaning information, the fertility of their mum.

"There is a huge difference in feed intake and the way different animals use feed. It's really groundbreaking to be able to gather this information on farm in real time.

"What we're talking about here is building sustainable farming systems that actually do reduce your emissions."

Mr Lawson is just one of a growing number of Australia producers working with Vytelle, which earlier this year signaled its expansion in the market with the appointment of Andrew Donoghue as its regional sales manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Donoghue, who has more than 30 years of experience with an extensive livestock background in commercial, research and development functions, said it was a pivotal time for the Australian beef industry with smart producers looking to progressive companies like Vytelle to help them meet growing demands for a more sustainable product.

"Developments in genomics and reproductive technology are moving extremely quickly at present," he said. "Vytelle's goal is to provide the tools to be able to unlock animal performance and fast forward genetic progress.

"Effectively, our tools allow producers to measure the performance of their cattle, identify their elite genetics, and more efficiently reproduce these genetics."

The Vytelle SENSE technology measures individual animal body weights and watering behaviour while they're drinking at monitored water troughs.

The Vytelle SENSE technology measures individual animal body weights and watering behaviour while they're drinking at monitored water troughs.

Vytelle combined Vytelle IVF and GrowSafe Systems in July 2020 with the aim of accelerating genetic advances in bovine technology.

As well as Vytelle SENSE, the company's technology platforms include Vytelle INSIGHT, its proprietary data analytics and reporting solution that enables producers to make more informed genetic selection decisions.

It also includes Vytelle ADVANCE, the highest-performing and fastest-growing IVF reproductive service in the industry. It's designed to provide a more modern and efficient process for the rapid dissemination of elite genes.

Vytelle is rapidly expanding its IVF program by establishing laboratories world-wide. This year Vytelle began embryo production in New South Wales with a partnership IVF lab, and aspires to grow in the region, including in New Zealand.

Setting Vytelle's IVF program apart is that it features a hormone-free collection process from heifers as young as six months, and from cows up to 100 days pregnant or as soon as 15 days after calving.

The high performance reproductive technology quickly multiplies offspring from producers' elite-performing animals.

It also uses a proprietary culture for growing out embryos that results in a higher quality freezable embryo to guarantee results.

For Mr Lawson, having access to the Vytelle global database and being part of a network of progressive beef producers around the world is also a key benefit.

"It's not just Vytelle's technology and their ability to handle big data and to communicate that very effectively to me but I also like that it puts me into this network where we all learn from each other," he said.

This is branded content for Vytelle.

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