The Noble Research Institute LLC and GrowSafe Systems Ltd. have entered into a new research agreement that aims to improve efficiency in cattle production and aid ranchers in making management decisions.
The new research collaboration extends a partnership between Noble and GrowSafe that dates back to 2010.
The five-year research commitment embarks on three sequential studies to standardize methods of measurement, demonstrate selection for residual feed intake (RFI) in both dry lots and pastures and integrate databases spanning from land stewardship to producer profitability, Noble said in an announcement.
Steve Rhines, Noble Research Institute president and chief executive officer, said, “Collaboration and research are cornerstones to promoting proper land stewardship and regenerative agriculture. We understand the challenges that ranchers face each day. Noble’s goal is to partner with like-minded companies to conduct transformational research that promotes efficient use of resources while helping producers stay viable. A producer who is profitable will make decisions focused on regenerating their land, and healthy land, in turn, is good for all of society.”
The institute said the three studies include:
1. Validate the use of GrowSafe Beef Units on pasture for weighing both cow/calf pairs and stockers. Noble will solidify the use of GrowSafe Beef for measuring partial bodyweight and conversion to full bodyweight with cattle in various stages of physiological production in pasture settings.
2. Identify measurable and predictive selection traits for forage efficiency in beef cattle. Using GrowSafe Beef Units, this study will demonstrate feed efficiency in beef cow/calf pairs, spring-calving cows and replacement heifers consuming grass hay diets and grazing in two different forage systems subject to grazing management to improve pasture soils.
3. Develop and integrate automated plant/animal/soil data streams to support decision-making tools. This study will develop decision-making support tools to enhance optimal forage management practices and marketing of stocker cattle. Additionally, the study will broaden the understanding of the economic relationships among forage biomass, nutrient fluctuation/soil health and animal weight.
The research will focus on the use of GrowSafe Beef Units. These in-pen weighing units non-invasively measure individual animal partial bodyweights and watering behavior while animals drink at a water trough. The technology weighs every second an animal is standing at the trough, which can mean an average of 45 weights 8-10 times per day, according to the announcement.
“We are delighted to align ourselves with industry-leading partners such as Noble Research Institute who provide the high-quality research necessary to develop innovations that bring genuine benefit to the producer. The future is in managing animals as individuals across their whole lifetime. I believe it is up to us, the technology providers, to provide the answers for how we will do this in a cost-effective manner. We need to work together to create a common, open ecosystem that enables data to be combined and shared,” GrowSafe Systems CEO Gareth Llewellyn said.
GrowSafe Systems builds advanced animal agriculture systems to help producers optimize their operations. Its advanced data acquisition platform features integrated hardware and software analytics that provide producers with data to make better decisions for their operations. Today, GrowSafe Systems are in use in 22 U.S. states, seven Canadian provinces and on farms in Mexico, Panama, Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Namibia, South Africa, New Zealand, Russia and across Europe.
The Noble Research Institute is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Okla., the institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research, offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers, operates seven research and demonstration farms and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture.