Meat & Livestock Australia Limited (MLA) delivers marketing and research and development services for Australia’s cattle, sheep and goat producers.
Funding comes from transaction levies paid on livestock sales, the Australian government and voluntary contributions from industry partners. MLA is a service provider to the red meat industry, not an industry representative body or lobby group.
2023 Nuffield Scholar
WA beef farmer to explore connectivity, emerging technologies to boost farmers’ bottom lines
Western Australian pastoralist and beef producer Alys McKeough sees the potential of emerging technology to improve property-wide connectivity, which could boost efficiency and productivity along with improving rangeland condition in the pastoral industry.
Alys has been awarded a 2023 Nuffield Scholarship, supported by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), to research the role of new technology in management and production. Her study will include whether improved connectivity options could support a wider range of more cost-effective technologies and how these can be used to assist rangeland regeneration.
Alys and her husband Harry have owned and operated a 179,000 ha cattle station for 12 years, producing beef for both local and export markets. They are excited about the opportunities new innovations can deliver for pastoralists.
At ‘Carey Downs Station’ in the Gascoyne region, Alys and Harry have successfully used technologies such as telemetry to improve efficiency, and would like to experiment with others such as virtual fencing and tags for animal health.
But they have found application to be limited because of the costs associated with purchasing and using both hardware and subscription services.
“Although we are using some of these tools through satellite data, it is costly. If we had connectivity comparable to our urban counterparts, it would completely change the options available to remote locations,” Alys says.
“It would allow for effective use of off-the-shelf hardware, providing a much more cost-effective alternative for technological diversification.”
With solutions being explored in Europe, New Zealand and the US, Alys is looking forward to visiting both farms and the companies behind some of the largest agricultural innovations in the world.
Making the best of new technologies can only happen if farmers can access them station-wide. Adequate connectivity can be described as the missing piece in Australia’s adoption of new farming solutions. Alys aims to remedy this, making improved efficiency and profitability a step closer for Australian agriculture.
Ph: 0438 384 603