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The Feedlot Industry Is About To Change

​Technological change in agriculture is accelerating and permeating into both our home and work lives with astonishing speed.  Think about how many screens your family uses every day and a full 85% of farmers in the United States today carry smart phone devices.  We live in a world that has more connected mobile devices than people and these connections are changing the way we work and farm.
Think of the technology revolution that your household or family has gone through over the past few years; Netflix instead of the video store changing how we entertain ourselves to Facetime and email changing how we communicate, a lot has changed in a very short time.  Now compare how much the processes at your farm or livestock operation have evolved?  Has your operation kept up with new farm technology?  These new technologies will have as much of an impact on the efficiency of your operation, as they can on your profitability.
In just a few, short years, we have progressed from big old desktop computers with floppy disks, voice and text-only cell phones and lots of paper.  To a world of near-ubiquitous connectivity, images of our fields that are captured from space, and all delivered to you on your phone.  Even our homes and our cars and our tractors can be commanded, driven and managed by our devices, each smart enough to learn the temperature patterns of our home and your personal temperature preferences, to cars that automatically park and tractors that steer around our fields, it is now a world of smart technology.
What is it about these powerful, connected devices that can disrupt whole industries?  Let’s consider GPS, a technology that first appeared in 1980, but didn’t become something we all use daily until just a few years ago.  I still remember the day when my parents would drive down the road with a map in hand trying to navigate to the destination and how tasking it was to get to some places. Then personal navigation devices, such as Garmin GPS, came out and it seemed like it was the perfect solution.
So why did Smartphone-based GPS take over from dedicated personal navigation devices? Smart cloud-based navigation changed the game. Today, Apple uses anonymous, real-time, crowd-source traffic data from all iOS users to provide real-time traffic navigation with smart insights on traffic congestion, road detours, and more efficient routing. This created a better alternative for the traveler to travel in a much more efficient way. Instead of having to plug the Garmin in to update the maps the Smartphone GPS updates automatically while providing real-time insights on how to better navigate your travel in a much more advantageous way while always being accessible in the palm of your hand.  These same types of benefits can also be achieved today in your livestock operation.
Cattle tracking technology today are old technology, analogous to how personal navigation devices were 10 years ago. They were an introductory technology that has since undergone a transformation and innovation.  These first generation tracking systems simply measuring general performance such as feed and medication usage, cattle inventory, final animal performance and financial close out.  Second generation cattle tracking technology, such as that offered in Performance Livestock Analytics’ Performance Beef product, helps you answer the right questions, to make better decisions. Performance Beef allows you to make real-time decisions in historic context by providing mobile-based, software analytics and access to all your tracking data.  Performance Livestock Analytics helps you make better buy decisions, management decisions throughout the cycle, and we help you profit from the sale of your cattle.  We provide anonymous benchmarking data, allowing powerful insights on how performance stacks up against other producers, and making recommendation on how to better navigate towards a profit.
Technology has changed our home life and our work life, but at different rates of change.  Let’s apply what we’ve learned at home; more efficient ways to communicate, to learn, and the ability to make decisions in real-time can affect how we operate our farming operations just as profoundly.