Associate Professor Luciano González has a BSc in Agronomic Engineering (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina), and MSc and PhD in Animal Production (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain). Luciano held positions in the University of Manitoba (Assistant Professor in Sustainable Grasslands and Livestock Production Systems, Canada)and Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Lecturer in Animal Production, Spain).
A/Prof González is interested in improving profitability and productivity of livestock systems along with animal welfare, sustainability and rural life. Luciano believes this can be achieved with the development of new and innovative technologies and methodologies to improve farm management.
A/Prof González is a key member of The Livestock in Future Landscapes Program which seeks to understand how livestock interact with the environment and how these interactions determine the efficiency of production (growth, reproduction), both of individual animals and groups. New information on livestock in landscapes will be used to select animals and develop management systems that optimise the efficiency of resource utilisation and adapt to climate variability and climate change. The ‘landscape’ includes extensive grazing systems (range, pastoral), intensive high-rainfall grazing systems, mixed crop-livestock systems, and intensive feeding systems (feedlot). The Livestock in Future Landscapes Program aims to contribute new knowledge on natural resource management, sustainability, and adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Luciano also works towards improving animal welfare of production animals in relation to pain mitigation during castration and transport, and automatic detection of disease and animals under stress.
Some of the technologies under development by Luciano include:
- Remote weighing stations to measure animal production (live weight and growth rate) and welfare
- 3D scanners and lasers to measure body condition in relation to animal welfare, meat quality and reproduction
- Sensors to remotely monitor animal location and behaviour in the landscape to study animal-environment-management interactions important for grazing land management and animal welfare
- Infrared thermography to measure body temperature
Data collected by these sensors and others that monitor the environment are integrated through models to improve the precision of decision making processes and the efficiency of utilization of natural resources. Environmental sensors include weather stations, soil and water sensors, satellite imagery and optical sensors to measure vegetation type and abundance. These technologies also help Luciano to understand underlying mechanisms and function of livestock production systems.