New on-farm technology
- increase the use of labour saving tools and new technologies that can improve labour efficiency, sheep traceability and breeding on farm
- develop technologies to estimate traits that are 'hard to measure' for on farm.
- Developed an industry support base for identifying and testing labour-saving technologies:
- a pilot group for new technology was established and met three to four times per year. The pilot group gave specific feedback on various labour-saving tools and new technology. This feedback was incorporated into a series of case studies which can be found on the New on-farm technology for sheep producers webpage. The pilot group had an opportunity to increase their knowledge of new technologies attending LambEx 2016 and included farm visits. A study tour report on the key learnings from the tour is available.
- Information and opportunity investigation - scoping report on the availability of labour saving tools and technology.
- Promoted the most promising technology and the best practice for management of sheep enterprises:
- Key technologies have been built into the management of the Katanning Research Facility (KRF). For example the KRF has had remote monitoring cameras on tanks and troughs to make it easier to check livestock water supply.
- Victoria study tour. A study tour went to Victoria late in 2017 to explore how electronic identification can be used to increase efficiency in managing a sheep enterprise. A report summarizing the key learnings is available.
- Supported emerging technologies – sensor technology:
- the use of sensors to monitor sheep is an exciting technology that could be used to improve reproduction and reduce the labour expenses associated with livestock. These sensors have the potential to establish location, as well as behaviours relating to ewe-lamb production and welfare, such as heart rate, steps per day and grazing behaviour. For more information on the sensors activity visit the Sensors for ewe pregnancy and sheep reproduction article in the SIBI newsletter.
- Investigated livestock recording apps. The pilot group tested the use of some commercially available livestock recording apps for recording mob movements, animal health treatments and allocation of tasks.
Outcomes and achievements
The new technology pilot group functioned for over 12 months and was committed to evaluation and testing of new technology. Relevant case studies investigating various labour saving tools were completed in 2015/16 and 2016/17. These assisted with promoting best practice for management of sheep enterprises.