By Dr.Chandani Parihar,Marketing Head,Nutreco India
As India rose as a primary ground for IT hub, it facilitated the landscape change for digital innovations and transformations across businesses over the past decade. Digital transformations and IoT (Internet of Things) enablers have all become a critical stepping stone for organizations in achieving long-term goals and providing solutions for long-standing challenges.Ushering on the phenomenon of startups and venture capitalists, many tech-based services have started surfacing that aim to provide more solution-based and customer-friendly environment.
Livestock and animal husbandry sector has also not remained untouched from the changing tides. The digitalization wave has penetrated across the species and the value chain whether it is related to precision nutrition or better farm management. With the increasing penetration of digitalization into animal production and the advancement of IoT technology, a new frontier has opened in which science and technology have combined to increase automation and bring more rapid real-time decision-making options. In this article, we look at three core areas where digital solutions have become an enabler for the industry.
IoT solutions to address the challenges in value chain
Over the last few years, there has been a rise in tech-startups who have brought in innovative solutions especially for dairy and aqua value chain. They aim to simplify farm and feed management, bring in better efficiencies while ensuring quality throughout the value chain.Given the huge opportunity India presents with a growing animal protein consuming population, these solutions have also garnered the attention of investors.
Nutreco too has invested into two such companies via its investment arm, Nufrontiers. One such company is Stellapps, an IoT based startup,which aims to digitalize the entire dairy value chain. The organization presents a unique integrated model that works at all intervention points from farms to processors that monitors the milk quality throughout to ensure that end consumers have a certified milk quality. At the same time, farmers are benefitted from a one-stop solution model wherein all their requirements from feed, health supplements to AI (Artificial Insemination) and extension services are provided. All of this is backed by cloud-based data monitoring and insight generation services that help to predict any existing diseases, other challenges and provide remedial action on immediate basis.
Another such IoT startup, that is successfully changing the lives of aqua farmers is EruvakaTechnologies. Their unique cloud-based aquaculture pond management solutions help to monitor ponds with intelligent control of aerators and feeders real-time, to reduce the production cost and risk of farmers while ensuring an increase in yield and improved FCR.Such remote monitoring technologies with right insights has helped farmers in Ecuador to become a leader in global shrimp farming.
Animal Nutrition Models and Services for Precision Nutrition:
In today’s uncertain environment, farmers are facing the difficult challenge of reconciling resources management, animal health & welfare, reduced ecological footprint, output quality with animal performance and sustainable income. When every decision impact animal and business performance, one wants to build on more than intuition alone.
Trouw Nutrition also provides an integrated digital solution and service under its NutriOpt platform that provides right insights and supports decision-making with the belief that Knowledge Feeds Success. Tools like NutriOpt On-Site Adviser (NOA) and Mycomaster under the platform are aimed to bring lab to the sample for quick on-farm analysis of nutrients and mycotoxins respectively.
Another comprehensive solution to enable precision nutrition are the animal nutrition models.It has been demonstrated over the last 5 decades that integrated nutrition models based on a sound biological framework will continue to help producers, integrators, and animal nutrition companies to remain profitable in a sustainable way.
As our understanding of animal biology and nutritional metabolism continues to grow so too does the accuracy and applicability of models improve. Advancements in science now give us the ability to accurately predict growth at various stages and respective feed intake, as well as incorporate feed additives into mechanistic animal models. This has led to the role of models increasing beyond only providing nutrition solutions but also providing practical day-to-day management advice to improve efficiency and profitability.
Increasingreach to customers:
Digital solutions also enable the businesses to reach directly to customers whether it is via utilization of various social media platforms that provide a medium to directly connect with consumers or through app-based services that eliminate middlemen and increase the product reach.
New age digital platforms and solutions have openedseveral channels through which information is being communicated to stakeholders. Businesses are becoming more aware of the power of these platforms in communicating about their brand and developing brand stories. While one must be careful in choosing the platforms, the effectiveness cannot be doubted in today’s age where everybody accesses information through mobile phones.
The impact of digital transformation on livestock and animal husbandry sector cannot be ignored and many more future innovations can be expected.The current challenge for the animal nutrition industry is where to wisely invest and how to extract value for customers and company with the advancement of resource-demanding technologies. Sensible assimilation of data and biology rather than blindly embracing a technology driven agenda could provide huge opportunities for innovation in the animal nutrition industry. Embracing the changing technology landscape in the industry does not mean accepting every digital solution offered but rather understanding what the commercial and technical risks are and then developing the appropriate mitigation strategies that can optimize both mechanistic and machine learning models to improve the welfare of people, planet and profit.
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