“Progressive tech user” typically isn’t a phrase that
describes ranchers. But a global wave of IT projects
aims to change that by making livestock management much more efficient—and profitable.
Some farmers are tapping tech to identify sick
livestock while others are focused on fattening up
cattle more quickly. And at Australia’s University
of Sydney, a team is hard at work on a project to
deliver SwagBot, which it bills as the world’s first
robot for rounding up sheep and cattle.
Technology is nothing new on the farm. The
global precision agriculture market—using
IT to ensure crops and soil receive exactly
what they need for optimum health and
productivity—is expected to hit US$4.8
billion by 2020, with an 11. 7 percent
annual growth rate, according to a 2016
report by research firm Marketsand-
But not all segments within the
sector have gone high-tech.
“The new kid on the block when
it comes to precision agriculture is
the livestock industry,” says David
Lamb, a professor at the University
of New England, Armidale, Aus-