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Livestock Technology: Low-Cost Producers Always Win

Jennifer Shike


August 25, 2020



The disruption COVID-19 has caused the marketplace isn’t going away anytime soon. With that in mind, is now the right time to incorporate more technology into your livestock operation?


There may be no better time than now, says Aidan Connolly, CEO of Cainthus and president of AgriTech Capital, during Farm Journal Field Days. 


“We have to presume we're going to see disruption over the next three years. In a disruptive market, I always think the winning strategy is to be the lowest cost producer. That doesn't mean spending the least amount of money – that means producing the lowest cost per pound of gain, the lowest cost per pound of milk, and the lowest cost per egg, etc.,” Connolly says. “It’s never been a bad idea to be the lowest cost producer.”


Whatever the market rate – whether prices are high, whether prices are low – the person with the lowest cost of production always wins, Connolly adds. 


How do you know if technology will pay off? Robotics, genomics, sensors – the list goes on and on. How do you know what to invest in and how do you determine if your investment is worth it? Dan Thomson, DVM, chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, says sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find those answers. 


“It may not be seen on the price of the animal or the performance of the animal,” Thomson says. “You have to look at your P&L sheet holistically. It may be realized on labor or decreased vaccinations.”


Thomson believes farmers ultimately do a good job of sifting through the different technologies and making the right decisions for their farm. 


“The market ultimately decides which technology we move on,” Connolly agrees. “If it doesn’t work, people won’t buy it.”


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