Strengthening beef production in New Mexico


SCOTTISH RESEARCHERS are part of a new, multi-million dollar research project investigating how to use precision farming methods to improve beef cattle production in the United States.

Researchers from the Rural College Hill and Mountain Research Center in Scotland will work with colleagues at the State University of New Mexico to develop and deploy Internet of Things hardware and associated technology – similar to that used in SRUC’s Kirkton and Auchtertyre farms in the Highlands – at the university’s Range Research Experimental Farm, as well as on commercial ranches in the American Southwest.

The project received $ 9 million in funding from the United States Department of Agriculture under its new Sustainable Agricultural Systems program.

SRUC Hills and Mountain Research Manager Davy McCracken said: “The humid mountains of the Southern Highlands of Scotland are radically different in landscape and character from the arid rangelands of the South West States. -United.

“But if you take a close look at the farming systems – primarily focused on sheep here and exclusively on beef there – the challenges they face are very similar. Both involve low density livestock grazing on large areas of relatively unproductive pasture, with a combination of poor nutrition, pests, diseases and predators negatively impacting productivity and growth rates during the seasons of the year. lambing and calving.

“Much of what we focus on at Kirkton and Auchtertyre – whether it’s genetic improvement in livestock productivity; manage forage and forage resources more efficiently on the farm; use sensors to physically track livestock; or the use of equipment associated with electronic identification to better track the performance of individual animals – is just as relevant in the Southwestern United States. ”

As part of the research project, the Hill and Mountain Research Center will also host PhD students from New Mexico State University, who will compare the effectiveness of the technology in two contrasting agricultural situations.

Mr. McCracken added, “We will certainly seek to seize this opportunity to develop our research and educational relationships at New Mexico State University as well as elsewhere in the United States. ”

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