Cargill has developed a robotic cattle driver to use at their beef processing plants.
The robot is designed to improve animal welfare by reducing human contact when moving the cattle from the pens to the harvest area.
To move the cattle, the robot has waving arms and audio recordings which are controlled by an operator using a joy stick.
Cargill Protein spent two years developing the prototype with input from Temple Grandin who's a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and a leader in animal welfare.
"The robotic cattle driver developed by Cargill is a major innovation in the handling and welfare of farm animals." Grandin said. "This device will lead to huge strides in employee safety while moving large animals and reduces the stress of cattle across the country."
Cargill also used input from beef plant employees and engineers from the New Jersey-based company Flock Free which manufacturers the robots.
Testing was conducted at the processing plants in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania and Schuyler, Nebraska before being used in the company's U.S. and Canadian plants.
"The average bovine weighs almost three quarters of a ton, and our plant processes several thousand head of cattle daily,” said Sammy Renteria, general manager of the Cargill beef plant in Schuyler, Nebraska. “This innovation provides a much safer workplace for our employees and allows them to develop new technology expertise as they manage and operate the robot.”
Cargill says, each of their U.S. and Canadian beef processing facilities will receive two robotic cattle drivers during the first calendar quarter of 2019, including their High River location.
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