ACT | The App Association represents app developers and small technology businesses creating new innovations across industry sectors, including in the field of precision agricultural technology. This Member Spotlight features one of our members, Quantified Ag, and talks about the promise and importance of technological innovation in the agricultural sector.
It’s no secret that Americans like their hamburgers and steaks, but many don’t think about the logistics that go into getting that perfect medium-rare filet on their plate. In order to satisfy America’s hankering for a hamburger, we need a lot of cattle — 30 million to be exact. Of those cattle, about 20 percent will display symptoms that may indicate a need for treatment. While operation managers often rely on their years of experience to identify and treat these issues, that task is certainly easier said than done because cattle tend to instinctively hide health issues. The issue is so prevalent that sickness, death, and related health issues are estimated to cost the U.S. cattle industry more $3 billion a year. This is where innovative solutions from member company Quantified Ag come into play.
Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, Quantified Ag co-founders Brian Schupach and Vishal Singh decided that wearable devices, part of the burgeoning internet of things (IoT), shouldn’t only be used for humans and created a smart cattle ear tag. This technology, which has been dubbed “Fitbit for cows,” monitors behavioral and biometric data from individual cows, although this technology is far more advanced and revolutionary than a simple activity tracker. Giving farmers access to precise data allows them to pinpoint which animals may need specific attention or care. Once activated, the system reports the data to the cloud every hour and then straight to the managers’ Precision Livestock® Dashboard.
This revolutionary technology allows operations managers to have faster and more insightful data on the performance and health of their cattle. Using this data makes it easy to identify sick animals, which enables faster diagnosis and treatment. Managers can prevent diseases from spreading by catching problems in their infancy, while they’re still easily treatable, rather than allowing them to fester and cause harm to the entire herd. The goal of the product has always been to collect data that can detect illness early on, but it also must be done with incredibly high accuracy.
Currently Quantified Ag products are focused entirely on cattle, but there is tremendous potential for an expanded market for preventative monitoring for other animals’ health as well. Not only could this product be used to monitor other animals that are a part of the agricultural industry, but it also has other potential applications as well. This product could unlock veterinarians’ ability to diagnose and treat animals remotely using telecommunications technology in much the same way that humans are being treated via telemedicine right now. However, for any of this promising technology to reach its full potential, rural and underserved communities must have access to broadband, an issue that both Quantified Ag and the App Association are incredibly passionate about. Solutions like television white spaces (TVWS) allow for fast, reliable, and low cost broadband in rural areas where traditional broadband access points are costly and unreliable. Broadband access solutions like TVWS are vital to bringing broadband connectivity to communities across rural America and give innovators like Quantified Ag the foundation necessary to grow and succeed in the global economy.
Quantified Ag’s technology leads to happier, healthier cattle, which leads to a happier farmer, and ultimately more economic growth for rural communities. The work of small businesses like Quantified Ag ensures the continued viability of the American family farm and rural livelihoods. They have certainly created an enormously important tool for the agricultural industry, and we look forward to seeing the continued improvement and rollout of their connected ag solutions.
To learn more about Quantified Ag’s work, click here.