Sheep producers are being sought to trial new on-farm technologies that support the productivity and profitability of the sheep industry in Western Australia.
The activity is part of the Department of Agriculture and Food’s $10 million Sheep Industry Business Innovation project made possible by Royalties for Regions.
Department research officer John Paul Collins will coordinate work to discover the on-farm technologies producers are using, and assess them and new on-farm technologies at the Katanning research facility.
Mr Collins said it was important WA sheep producers invest in labour-saving and flock management technologies that increase efficiency and traceability, and enabled better breeding in sheep enterprises.
“I’m keen to engage producers who are interested in joining a reference group of members to trial and give feedback on new technologies and consider their potential to help producers expand their sheep enterprises without increasing labour requirements,” Mr Collins said.
“On-farm labour has been identified as a key constraint in expanding the State’s sheep flock, particularly on broadacre cropping enterprises where sheep have a lower priority in labour management decisions.
“The idea of the reference group is to bring farmers together to discuss new on-farm technologies, try them out, and bounce off each other when giving their feedback with the aim of determining the most beneficial new technology for producers in WA.”
Mr Collins said increased on-farm technology use could be vital in helping the WA sheep industry to become internationally competitive and grow in the future.
“Sheep handlers are a great tool to perform husbandry tasks and they decrease operator fatigue,” he said.
Other potential technologies include auto-drafters, electronic ear tags and panel readers, which could be used in combination to help farmers make well-informed decisions for each animal.
“It is encouraging to see sheep farmers already dabbling in some new technologies and adapting them to their own sheep enterprises,” he said.
“I’m also interested in working with and supporting these farmers, and providing opportunities for them to share their experiences with technology with others who are keen to embrace new technology.”
Producers interested in being a part of the reference group to assess new on-farm flock management and sheep handling technologies are invited to contact Mr Collins by calling +61 (0)8 9821 3249, or email email@example.com.
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