World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit Roundup

Start-up scales AI-enabled genetic data analysis software for cattle producers

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/Thomas Barwick
Image: Getty/Thomas Barwick

Related tags dna cattle

Technology accelerates more efficient, profitable and sustainable global beef production, says US-based AgBoost.

After years of product development and field testing, data analytics company AgBoost has announced the global commercial expansion of its cloud-based data analysis platform that helps cattle producers interpret genomic data for selective breeding, health, market value and nutrition management.

Despite a 65% increase in US beef herd productivity over five decades, according to United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA), rising demand for sustainably produced meat and shrinking profit margins underscore the importance of genetic data for herd efficiency.

"I like to say we're the 23andMe of the livestock industry,” Sean Akadiri, AgBoost founder and CEO, AgTechNavigator at the 2024 Animal AgTech Innovation Summit and World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit. Cattle producers pay $50 for a kit, then send samples back to AgBoost, which then gives cattle producers the data and the analytics to improve breeding.

AgBoost's software combines genomic and production data, including live birth weight and diverse phenotypic information, for individual animals.

"Too often, cattle producers invest in DNA technology without unlocking its full potential," he said Sean. "Our platform revolutionises decision-making, empowering ranchers with faster, more precise choices. By putting genetics at their fingertips, we're reducing the average $2,000 loss per calf during breeding and development, giving ranchers a decisive advantage over the competition.”

Traditionally, breeding decisions rely on visual appraisals and multi-generation written records of estimated genetic merit. AgBoost's software, costing combines genomic and production data, including live birth weight and diverse phenotypic information, for individual animals. Users can track animals individually or group them, such as in replacement heifer groups. By selecting 17 specific traits, producers gain a comprehensive view to inform feeding, animal health, and marketing decisions effectively.

“Genomic testing data can feel like deciphering hieroglyphics to most producers,” added Nick Jorgensen, CEO and CFO of Jorgensen Land and Cattle, who not only licenses the platform for its large seed stock operation but also invested in the company. But AgBoost transforms complexity into simplicity, presenting data in a visual wheel that sparks meaningful conversations. Now, we can swiftly identify the top bulls with complementary traits for desired calves,”

Seedstock cattle producers depend on analytics for marketing in bull and production sales. AgBoost visually showcases genetic value and identifies DNA-linked traits, like production, maternal, and carcass traits, aiding in sorting and selecting specific characteristics. The tool also allows for scenario planning, including establishing keep/cull lines to distinguish the top and bottom of the gene pool.

Aiming for expansion into new geographies and livestock

Introduced to US cattle producers in 2018, AgBoost – established in 2013 by engineers and cattle producers as a subsidiary of the animal agtech firm Agric-Bioformatics – now holds millions of genomic data records for individual cows. With recent patent approvals, the company aims to expand into top-producing markets like Brazil, Canada, China, and the United Kingdom.

Currently, it is used by around 1,000 organisation ranchers, universities and breed associations. AgBoost supports all sizes of seedstock and commercial cow/calf producers, regardless of breed association, with an interactive pedigree and sire link, with a breeding suggestion calculator coming in late 2024. The company intends to broaden individual producer subscriptions, enterprise licensing agreements, and tailor the platform for additional livestock and related industries to meet current demand.

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