February 22, 2024

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Smart tech to allow remote screening and monitoring of sheep

Researchers from the Western Sydney University are leading a world-first study that will trial the application of smart technology to monitor behaviour, in combination with physiological and epigenetic changes, in Merino sheep reproduction.

According to a recent report, the study will remotely monitor the effects of shearing on sheep behaviour using the smart tag technology developed by a company focused on growing the Australian wool industry.

The monitoring will focus on shearing frequency and reproductive milestones. It will also include assessment of the sheep’s movement, feedbase interactions and reproductive outcomes.

These will be used to produce a template of new biomarkers that will boost sheep reproduction programs.

This study aims to gain a better understanding of the changes that occur in utero in Merino lambs under shearing frequency.

The results from the study will have significant commercial and scientific value, according to Dr Edward Narayan, the research lead from the University’s School of Science and Health.

Reproductive wastage of viable embryos and lambs is an important problem in the livestock industry and the results of this study could contribute to reducing it.

Through this new research, the team will be able to obtain real-time scientific information on the reproductive status, behaviour and physiology of maternal ewes and the data applied to better understand the nexus of maternal-foetal environmental interactions and overall productivity.

The long-term aim of the current research is to provide a deeper understanding of the lifetime production traits in Merino sheep.

Thus, it is anticipated that the study will help make remote health screening of mothers and lambs, using new smart technology, a reality.

The greater goal at hand is to move away from solely assessing DNA and move to a more holistic approach.

This approach includes the examination of environmental factors that impact DNA at a molecular level, which is known as epigenetics.

The sophistication of non-invasive technologies such as smart tags, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) and wool based reproductive and stress hormone monitoring is at a point now where remote screening of sheep reproduction and welfare is a real possibility.

The study will also pave the way for producers to monitor environmental impacts on their own flocks using data from smart tags directly transmitted to mobile phones.

Producers want to understand the ecological systems better within their landscapes.

They want to evaluate the point at which they function optimally, understand responses to shearing to improve productivity but at the same time improve maternal health, lambing percentages and overall welfare of their valuable sheep flock.

Location tracking for stock is not new but this application could be advantageous for sheep-on-farm reproductive productivity and whole-farm profitability.

The company will be funding the study through a grant with results expected in late 2019.

A group of researchers from the University’s Stress Lab will be assisting in the research.

A Masters candidate, who has explored the use of wool as an indicator of reproductive health in livestock in his recent research, will contribute his expertise in remote monitoring.

Sustainable agriculture and food security undergraduate students, who have been awarded Australian Wool Education Trust scholarships, will assist with monitoring and analysis in the field and laboratory.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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