Of the 15 rural research and development corporations, LiveCorp is the smallest – but that doesn’t stop it achieving great results for the livestock export industry it supports. By learning from other industries and leveraging investments and past knowledge, LiveCorp punches well above its weight.
Over the past two years, LiveCorp has been using an Open Innovation approach to tackle some of the big questions facing livestock exports – conducting a global search for technologies being used in other industries which may be suitable for adaption or adoption.
It’s just one example of how LiveCorp extracts every dollar of value from its investments by leaving foundational research to others and leveraging existing knowledge – something that is essential for an RDC with fewer than 50 levy-payers.
The Open Innovation project is examining better ways to manage the risk of heat stress to livestock on export ships. Last year this involved world-first trials of dehumidification technology used in the mining industry, to determine whether it is effective at removing humidity from the air on a ship. At this stage it is not a practical solution, but a model developed from the data will help to assess other technology in future.
This year, the project is tackling connectivity on a ship, as the metal infrastructure makes it difficult for wireless signals to travel within and between decks and limits the ability to use automated sensors. LiveCorp is scouting solutions including a company which has solved a similar problem on oil rigs in the North Sea.
Meanwhile, artificial intelligence used to count cars on roads and commuter behaviour on trains has been adapted to count sheep on and off ships, scoring 99.9% accuracy. The system uses video cameras streamed to a computer, and has the potential to replace manual counting – including the highly skilled and labour intensive task of counting the 50-60,000 sheep in a consignment as they are loaded onto a ship.
As well as looking externally for ideas, LiveCorp participates in a range of initiatives where participants are collaborating to leverage each other’s knowledge. This includes the Livestock Export Program which it jointly funds with Meat & Livestock Australia, projects with other RDCs, and involvement in national programs covering topics such as animal welfare and biosecurity.
Through it all, LiveCorp is looking for the best outcome for its members, and finding innovative and cost effective ways to navigate the trade toward a stronger and more sustainable future.