Graham Plastow’s recent talk on smart farming, livestock and genomics

We often hear about the smart farm where sensors, automated equipment, drones, and other high-tech machinery and software are all connectedWhat could this “precision agriculture” mean for livestock and genomics? These themes were part of the presentations, Gentec CEO Graham Plastow, who is also a key scientist in the BovReg consortium, gave at The Roslin Institute’s Future of Livestock Production workshop and the 25th Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences Conference.

Dr. Plastow presented, how researchers can now describe animals in increasing detail, from their genotype (genomics) to what genes are expressed when and where (transcriptomics and proteomics), the molecules they generate (metabolomics) and even how their microbiome interacts with the animals. The microbiome is a key element of ruminants upgrading grass and other plant resources that humans can’t eat.

In these talks, Dr. Plastow added the opportunity represented by the “internet of things,” from wearables to monitor activity and behaviour or remote imaging technology that can identify and collect phentoypes in real time to help us understand which animals are eating, what, when, how and why (see full report here).