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 new 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.