Dimitra Livestock Guru
At Dimitra, we are always designing something new to empower and equip smallholder farmers. In March 2022, we launched Dimitra Livestock Guru, the most technologically advanced software of its kind that helps farmers and livestock breeders enhance performance and efficiency, leading to increased livestock sector profitability.
While some farms around the world have sophisticated systems for producing the next generation of high-quality cattle, others leave it totally to chance. If farmers can start to understand the factors that affect an animal’s performance and how to better manage their livestock, it reduces cost, reduces negative environmental impact, and directly increases income.
Now, with Dimitra Livestock Guru, governments, large and small farmers around the world could be just a few generations of livestock away from a different future. The platform immediately impacts feed management and value through animal observation, track and trace, and health management.
Read on to learn how it works.
The Genetics Module
Livestock management is a make it or break endeavor that directly results in either a predictable improvement or a steady decline in the quality of animals. There are best practices for assessing an animal across its lifecycle that determines a farmer’s best options for breeding. Dimitra’s genetics module was created in close collaboration with leading agricultural industry experts.
Great livestock management, including genetic mapping, reduces the risk of disease and improves productive and reproductive rates. Most farmers simply don’t collect the right information and use that information to make decisions. There are two fields of study that provide data:
Genomics — Providing insight into all genes and their interrelationships. Mapping genomes has been practiced routinely since the early 2000s, and the identification of which genes correspond to which outputs (quality of meat, quantity of milk, etc.) has helped farmers breed with intention.
Genetics — Scrutiny of the function and composition of single genes. This field provides data that helps farmers propagate heritable trait combinations, maximizing the value of livestock.
Statistical analysis of the data gleaned from both fields can inform economic breeding indexes (EBIs), which assess the probability of an animal passing on a single trait. Effective analysis, supported by technology, can provide reliable measurements of additional factors, such as Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) and Expected Breeding value (EBV).
The Dimitra Genetics Module collects the right data on an animal’s entire lifecycle. Farmers simply input data about each animal. That’s all they have to do. The software then generates precise recommendations for which animals should be bred. What results is the acceleration of the genetic improvement of the herd.
Other positive outcomes of using the platform are that farmers build a body of health records for each animal, identify trends in the herd, and predict issues to avoid poor breeding decisions.
Let’s talk about how this distinctly affects beef and dairy cattle farmers.
Why Genes Matter for Beef Cattle
Farms are like factories, and they’re in the business of making money. As is the case in any factory, the goal is to maximize efficiency. Many farmers around the world have haphazard practices for how they manage beef cattle. The traits carried by bulls directly support their value in the marketplace, which means that farmers stand to profit from implementing better practices in genetics tracking and breeding.
For beef cattle, carcass traits (not too much fat, the right marbling, etc.) are essential to get the best price. After measuring the animal’s carcass at the slaughterhouse, farmers fill in the questionnaire on the Dimitra platform. The data they receive from that arms them with the knowledge to put a price on the bull and plan for the next generation.
The statistical methods used to determine which traits to use are fairly complex, but the Dimitra platform has made it virtually effortless, leveraging technology to minimize what a farmer has to do to benefit from this basic information.
Why Genes Matter for Dairy Cattle
For dairy cattle, there are distinctive traits that make for good milk producers as well as predicting the overall health of an animal. Accurately identifying maternal traits will make it easier to predict calving ease. All of the traits that are genetically passed on are identifiable, and if a farmer knows what to look for, they can make strategic decisions to pass on the right traits to the next generation.
There is a complexity to genetic mapping that most farmers may not understand, for instance, complete dominance versus co-dominance versus recessive traits. If farmers learn to observe the right factors, log them in the system, and make decisions based on the data, little by little and generation by generation, the herd will improve.
Here’s an illustration:
In a developing country, a farmer may have four cows and one bull. They leave it to fate to let the animals mate. The offspring will be similarly random: one may be skinny, and one may be a low milk producer. Operating in this way creates a huge margin of waste. With our technology, farmers can become methodical in how they reproduce, producing generations of offspring with more valuable or favorable traits. Knowing which animals hold the best genes for producing the next generation is an immense opportunity for farmers within Dimitra Livestock Guru.
Better Production = Better Profitability
Livestock management is a practice which, if refined, could change the lives of farmers around the world. Dimitra Livestock Guru centralizes data, giving farmers an easy tax of recording what they know and observe, and generating recommendations that empower them to make sound decisions.
To learn more about partnering with Dimitra, or getting the Dimitra Livestock Guru platform to farmers in your country, contact us today.