November 07, 2016

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey Folks, Dr. Dan here. Thanks for joining us on today’s show. It’s an exciting show. It’s about new technology; it’s about Quantified Ag. My guest will be Mr. Andrew Uden who’s the COO at Quantified Ag, with this new technology that’s going to revolutionize the beef cattle industry.

Closed Captioning brought to you by AgriLabs, the Perfect Pairing of Performance and Value.

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Well, welcome to the show. (Andrew Uden) Thanks for having me. I appreciate you inviting me down. (Dan) You bet. Folks, Andrew Uden here; he’s the COO for Quantified Ag which we’ve met and known each other for quite a while even since you were at the University of Nebraska. But my goodness gracious, what an incredible technology, and exciting time that you’re bringing to the beef cattle industry. Tell me a little bit about Quantified Ag. (Andrew) Yes, it’s certainly an exciting time right now, and in the cattle industry, we’re starting to see a lot of new technologies emerge. I’ve been fortunate enough to get involved with Quantified Ag, which is a data analytics company that also makes wearables or biometric measuring devices for cattle. Sometimes the media calls us the Fitbit for cattle. How we got our start was getting into drones and thermal imaging, some of these technologies that people are using experimentally on their operations. Our CEO Vishal Singh was a drones expert; a technology expert at the University of Nebraska and then transitioned into beef cattle technologies. That’s right about the time I came on board and we decided, “Let’s go forward with an ear tag.” Vishal was already working on one, and I started getting ideas and sharing ideas, and we started working with veterinarians, we started working with cattle producers, and people in the industry to solve real-world issues around behavior, sickness, feed performance. (Dan) For years, just trying to train how to find animals that are sick or animals that are injured and that predator-prey relationship that cattle will not exhibit clinical signs because, for years of evolution, they’ve been taught to not show weakness, so they don’t get picked off by a wolf. You’re bringing forward something that then can help producers on a day-to-day basis pick out animals that are maybe not doing right. (Andrew) Absolutely, the big thing that we noticed was when we talked to pen riders, and I was a pen rider at my family feedyard for many years in high school and college, weekends, and we look at how pen rider behavior affects the animals. If you get a new guy or you get somebody that’s not experienced around animals, a lot of times they don’t know to be looking two or three pens ahead for the animal that has his head down. By the time they get to that pen, they’ve missed him already. When you walk in the gate or a new pickup drives by, all the heads are up, and suddenly you’ve missed your chance to early detect those animals that need attention today so that they’re not sick tomorrow. That’s the issue people have been trying to solve with drones, with thermal imaging. But when you get to those high-level technologies you start to get to a point where you scare the cattle. You’re putting another factor in their environment that’s going to set them in that prey mode. That’s why we decided with an ear tag; it’s something cattle are used to. It’s something that they do not even know they’re wearing. Similar to somebody wearing a Fitbit. (Dan) Well, I think it’s a fitting name, the Fitbit for cattle. Folks we’re going to get into this technology, and you’re going to sit there and go wow. Because the ability to– and the dollars, and the ability to improve beef cattle health and well-being is not only something that’s going to be recouped in general dollars for the person who owns the operation but the better we can do with judicious use of antimicrobials and serving the retailers and consumers of beef. Thanks for being here. (Andrew) Absolutely, thanks again. (Dan) Great. When we come back, we’re going to dig into this technology. Take a look at what they have there at Quantified Ag. Thanks for watching DocTalk. We’ll be back after these messages.

(Dan) Hey, folks, welcome back to DocTalk, I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here at Kansas State University. I have Mr. Andrew Uden here at the show. He’s the COO of Quantified Ag, which is a company that has some tremendous technology that’s going to revolutionize cattle feeding and beef cattle health. I always like to start out with the equipment. What are we talking about here and describe to us how your program works. (Andrew) We try to design our system to be as low infrastructure as possible. First, we had to build a tag that had some communication platform on it. Then that platform, we built out so that basically the scale of feedyard, tens of thousands of animals, could all go back to one receiver. We built out that technology very early days of basically mounting a high-frequency antenna on a feed mill taking all that information to one box and then all that goes up to the cloud where you can pull it into your smartphone or your computer and instantly see what’s going on with the animals in your yard. (Dan) Okay, so you’ll take, how big is this receiver? What are we talking about? (Andrew) It’s probably about the size of a piece of paper and it’s about six inches thick. You just mount it on a wall, plug in the power, plug in your antenna and plug in Internet, and you’re ready to go. It’s very low, hands off, low infrastructure system. (Dan) Well, I’ve spent years of working with farmers and ranchers and computers and online training and different things to that nature and the simpler, the better, especially when we’re talking about animals and not disrupting commerce at a feedyard. (Andrew) Absolutely. (Dan) This sounds incredible. (Andrew) That’s how we’ve always tried to envision it, something that our most basic customer could buy it and within a few hours be up and running on their operation. (Dan) Okay, they plug it in. This is the ear tag here. (Andrew) Yes, receivers plugged in, it’s collecting data. Now we start with the ear tag and it’s a different looking ear tag because of the sensors that are on it and because of how it collects information. We actually have an infrared temperature sensor that looks down the ear canal. It sits in the top of the ear like this and goes fairly deep in the ear and then we actually have a stainless steel surgical staple that holds the ear into the animal, and then this piece of backing goes under the staple to keep it from irritating the animal, the top of the animal’s ear. (Dan) This is on the back of their ear? (Andrew) This is on the back of the ear. This is in the ear looking down the ear canal, so we get more accurate temperature. It is also collecting movement, so head movement, overall mobility and then when an animal is found, is sick or an out leader to the group, what we’re try to do is alert the people that are looking for those animals with a super bright daylight visible LED in the end of the tag. (Dan) [Laughs] (Andrew) The way this sits in the ear, that ear actually cuffs it just like a traffic light and so, as you’re watching animals walk by you, you can see these bright green lights very visibly. Now again it looks a little different from an ear tag, but I think we’re going to get into that right after we get back. (Dan) You bet. Yes, we’re going to continue more on the equipment. But I can see how that could sit comfortably inside the calf’s ear, giving you temperature, telling you movements. Folks, when we come back, we’re going to get into a little bit more Quantified Ag and Andrew Uden, more after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan here with Andrew Uden, COO, Quantified Ag, talking about the ability to get temperature of the cattle, be able to look at movement and how the calves are moving in the yard. But what’s this? (Andrew) This is our tagging gun or attachment tool if you like trying to be more– (Dan) [Laughs] (Andrew) – Politically correct in the industry, which is basically a modified roofing gun at this point. We’re working on making a new design for this, but right now is we’re testing on yards. We’re starting to get this tagging commercial feedyards. It’s a very simple process. You load the tag, just like – it’s like a two-piece tagger. You have your backing, you have your tag. All slides in together. (Dan) Hope you don’t staple this to me. All right, here we go. (Andrew) If your animal’s ear is here, you slide it down the top of the ear. You tighten it, which will actually activate the safety. If there’s not an ear in there, you can’t staple. (Dan) Got you. (Andrew) Then you pull the trigger. It takes seconds per animal. It goes in. (Dan) It’s no different than any other tagging. (Andrew) Exactly, and it’s pneumatic. If you’re doing hundreds in a day, other than the weight of the gun, you’re not having any physical force, having to put the tag in the ear. It goes in so quickly with such a small-gauge staple, you’re not causing a lot of traumatic damage to that ear either. In fact, most times cattle will not throw their head or buck or anything. The noise of the gun, the poof of air, causes more stress I think than the tagging. (Dan) This is going to be inside the ear and you have this flat on the back. It’s not going to catch on any cable. (Andrew) Exactly. (Dan) Like the old RFID tags and things that would catch on cable and rub off, so you prior pretty good retention. (Andrew) Exactly, we’re working probably in the high nineties right now and keep in mind we developed the very first prototype less than two years ago; probably about a year and a few months ago. We’ve moved pretty aggressively, pretty quickly on high retention, low infection rate and great usability. (Dan) Let me get this straight. I get the receiver to 11 X 6 inch box. I put it up, plug it in the wall, turn on the Internet, and start putting these in. How many cattle can the one receiver- (Andrew) Up to 62,000. (Dan) Okay, and the radius? (Andrew) Radius is about two-mile radius. We’re going to cover pretty much– most feedyards in America, they’re very large yards, we can use multiple receivers and cattle can bounce between receiver to receiver. From a traceability standpoint, you could have receivers at say, Tyson and as cattle are coming in, once they leave the feedyard they start looking for a new receiver, they get to the gate at Tyson, and they start linking up before they’re ever on the kill floor, before they ever have to be scanned in. (Dan) What all information can you get on these tags about the individual animal? (Andrew) We’re getting inner ear canal temperature which is correlated to body temperature. We’re getting head movement, so watching the position of that head throughout the feeding period or throughout their day, and then we’re getting overall mobility, which is really like a pedometer. How the pedometers work in the dairy industry. (Dan) Okay, and then you use that in combination to understand whether all the animals are doing right. (Andrew) Yes, and we have some simple charts that we can look at how temperature and mobility are correlated on animals that are getting sick and animals that are staying healthy. We also have the ability to do deep machine learning techniques which I think we should probably talk about here as we wrap-up. (Dan) Sounds like a winner. Pretty simple technology, highly effective technology and something that we’re going to be seeing more of in the future, that’s for sure. Mr. Andrew Uden, he’s the COO of Quantified Ag. I’m Dr. Dan. More from DocTalk after these messages.

(Dan) Hey, folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Andrew Uden, who’s the COO of Quantified Ag, which is a new technology company that’s revolutionizing beef cattle health and well-being, judicious antimicrobial use traceability. You name it; they’re getting it covered. As we left you were talking about your animal ethics, which – now don’t get too deep on me but- [Laughter] (Dan) -Because these guys are smart. (Andrew) [Laughs] Yes, it goes over my head too but luckily we have some data scientists on the team. (Dan) It doesn’t go over his head [laughs]. (Andrew) But what we would like to say is we use the deep machine learning techniques or deep data analytics which is taking new theories of statistical modeling, clustering and searching through these vast amounts of data we collect. Because we’re collecting 18 to 24 readings a day on every animal that has these tags, and that’s just dumping every hour or collecting readings every few seconds on most of these animals. If you look at a chart, it’s going to be hard to sort through all that data whereas these algorithms and these machine-learning platforms that are in the cloud can look through data in seconds and tell you, “Well, this animal is sick. There’s something’s off with this animal, go look at him.” But it starts to isolate those animals pretty quickly. (Dan) Let’s take a look at all these animals. (Andrew) This is just our basic management platform, which is all cloud-based. You pulled up on your phone or computer or tablet at home even. You can do everything you can do in a normal animal management system; processing movements, treatments. But at the same time, it’s also pulling in all this live data on this animal. The dark blue line is temperature over time, and then the light blue bar graph is actually his overall activity level throughout the day. If we look here on the 20th of September, you can see his temperature gets all the way up to 106.2, and you can tell we missed him because there are days where it gets hot, but the whole group is hot; high-heat days. But his activity just falls off a cliff, and then as he starts to normalize his temperature, you see all of this activity patterns rise again. That’s the normal sickness progression that we’re looking for. Like I said, that’s where the deep machine learning comes in. Because rather than just looking at this and going through thousands of cattle a day and saying, “This one has it, this one has it,” the algorithm does all that for you, and then it tells you, “These are the lights you need to turn on.” (Dan) Yes, then it sends from the receiver out to turn this light on, and that’s an animal that needs to be pulled. (Andrew) Exactly. (Dan) Wow. You’d start to think about the technology and think about, “Okay, these are days I should or shouldn’t be working cattle just because of temperature and activity retreatment rates, cattle that are checking out.” There are many things that you’re going to be able to help us with. It’s going to be unbelievable. (Andrew) We like to say we’re on the very tip of the iceberg. We have a very basic system that we know gets us to a certain point in terms of identifying those sick animals early and then from there we can start to build out traceability and more precise use precision livestock management, if you will, of drugs and things like that. (Dan) Folks, you want to see some new technology, check out their website Quantified Ag, and it’s here on the bottom of your screen. Thinking about the ability to find sick cattle, having something that’s simple to use, can tell you which animals need to be pulled. Then the traceability, which is coming, being able to communicate directly from the feedyard to the packing plant and pull up incredible work. Appreciate all you’re doing for the industry and appreciate you’ll watching DocTalk. You want to know more about what we do here on DocTalk, you can find us at I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Remember to always work with your local veterinarian. Thanks for joining me on DocTalk and I’ll see you down the road.

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