In the future we will see a marriage between farmers and data analysts.
As the demand for meat protein increases a couple of facts become apparent. Intensification will remain a viable option and success will be determined by how precisely we maximise the potential of the animals. Because genetics are constantly developing we end up chasing a moving target. As a result, we need to look at the systems we use to manage the increasing scale and complexity required to meet these demands. As farm systems develop we hope the operation of will become more simple or intuitive. The holy grail being, a fully automated farm system, operated from the bio responses of animals. This remains a target for the more advanced technology vendors and maybe will become a reality. But in the meantime we have to face some facts:
Regardless of how advanced the system is, at the end of the day we are dealing with animal biology and humans. This means because the target is moving, the need for constant observation is critical. Staying on top of this 24x7 process, can only come via the use of technology. Based on similar experience in other industries, it can therefore be assumed:
The skill set of a good stockman does not always cover competency in data analysis.
Embracing technology will always be a challenge.
A different skill set will therefore be required.
As skill moves on knowledge and experience is lost.
Health and nutrition professionals are paid to give advice not optimize farms.
Increased scale of production will require more focus on the detail.
Technology will continue to develop, more sensors will mean more data analysis.
The challenge is therefore set to grow.