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Advances in Technology Play into Raising Livestock for Show

Brian Bolt, with Clemson University’s Youth Livestock Programs says that young people use an amazing amount of technology today to raise livestock for competition:

“There are so many options today when we think about the technology that is available to young people. Its easy to use and yields a tremendous amount of information. A young person can do on their farm what we could do at the university just several years ago.”

Bolt explains that technology has moved into the barn with the animals:

“Back when I was growing up and showing livestock, you relied on a set of scales that the county extension office might have had and when you could get them. Now with technology, we can put small portable scales right in the barn. There are even ID scanners for the animals, whether it is retinal scanner or a nose print.”

As well as:

“There is a lot of performance information we can harvest from the genetic material on the pure bred calves and you pair that with the ultrasound information, that will tell you a lot about performance well ahead of time.”

And technology has also progressed to feeding show animals explains Bolt:

“With advances in mammal nutrition, we now have some high quality rations. A lot of young people will be using what we call a show ration that is balanced for every possible need the animal could have. You really have the opportunity to optimize an animals performance based on his genetic potential. Couple that with some of the other performance measures, we can calculate feed conversion and cost to gain and target growth rates on the farm.”

After a downturn in interest in showing animals, Bolt explains interest is on the upswing:

“As the economy turns around, folks are getting back to it. There are so many different species that can be shown from rabbits to chickens all the way up to the more advanced horses and cattle. There are options for everyone at every skill level.”

Brian Bolt with Clemson University’s Youth Livestock Programs. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.