Facts & figures

Animal sources contribute

  • 20% of the energy humans consume on a daily basis
  • 25% of the protein humans consume on a daily basis
  • 50% of the gross value of Agriculture as a whole in Australia

Animal agriculture

Partnering with industry and society to advance animal agriculture

We're developing digital technologies, monitors, methods and models to improve the health, welfare, quality and economic and environmental sustainability of production animals.

Animals contribute about 20% of the energy and 25% of the protein humans consume on a daily basis.

They are a source of income for farmers and have an integral role in the food system and the health of the planet by converting marginal land into food; providing organic fertilizer for crops and converting larges amount of non-edible feed into high quality food.

In Australia, the production of food and fibers from animal sources accounts for about half ($30b) of the gross value of Agriculture as a whole. About 70% of this value comes from slaughtering, the other 30% from milk, wool and eggs.

The potential for animal agriculture growth in Australia is enormous. More food (about 70% animal products are likely to be needed by 2050); of higher quality (people more concerned on what they eat); and from more options (consumers seeking healthy diets, provenance, transparency), are key factors that combine to make the future of animal agriculture in Australia extremely promising and exciting.

However, the challenges ahead are immense and the potential of animal agriculture cannot be fully exploited without the development of more advanced profitable production systems; the vertical integration of products from farm to consumers; the integration of automation and system optimisation; and, above all, the ‘outside the square’ thinking that is required for true innovation.

All this requires innovative, collaborative, interdisciplinary research; what SIA brings to the table.

The Sydney Institute of Agriculture is tackling these challenges by bringing together all disciplines and expertise across the whole University to create innovative solutions in all aspects of Animal Agriculture.

SIA brings a holistic approach to, and innovative thinking views of, animal production systems, allowing people working in distant areas of research to contribute to their advancement.

Animal Agriculture works closely with the other theme areas at SIA to meet the challenges, and welcomes participation and contributions from any discipline across the University. Active members will find in Animal Agriculture a venue for open-minded discussions and will be able to participate of open and targeted workshops, the organisation of specific activities like research showcases and conferences, and much more. Our team of scientists, spanning across the species contributing to animal agriculture, are keen to further engage our industry and broader community – we are keen to work to solve challenges and create opportunities. Please reach out to us through our Theme Lead, Cameron Clark.

Our research

Our experts:  Associate Professor Simon De Graaf, Dr Jessica Rickard

Our partners: Australian Wool Innovation

This project will develop on animal ‘Smart Tag’ sensors to remotely monitor and diagnose reproductive events of individual sheep in a flock. Machine-learning will identify mating events from accelerometer, proximity & GNSS data. This in turn will enable identification of ewes in oestrus, the date they conceive and reveal the identity of the sires who served them: a total reproductive fingerprint & history of each animal.  As a result, differential management of pregnant ewes can be made immediately post-joining and fetal age (and thus lambing groups) accurately identified without pregnancy scanning. This system also provides a simple means of remotely identifying the libido and serving capacity of rams. 

Our experts:  Associate Professor Roslyn Bathgate

Our partners: South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), SunPork Solutions

Detecting sow reproductive state more efficiently and effectively is a current priority for the pig industry. This project will investigate real time markers of the reproductive state of sows and gilts, specifically looking to identify oestrus and ovulation, pregnancy earlier than 28-days post-insemination and to predict the onset of parturition. The major focus of these three arms will be characterising changes in cervical mucus throughout the reproductive stages. Detecting changes in cervical mucus will lead to the development of accurate real-time, pen-side tests that are non-invasive and easy to use, so transforming the way pigs are managed.

There is a PhD opportunity available within this project.

Associate Professor Cameron Clark

Animal agriculture Theme Leader

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