A video that highlights the benefits of five new technology innovations being adopted by Western Australian sheep producers had its premiere at LambEx 2018 today.
The video is the culmination of a project by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to evaluate a range of technology and devices to save producers time, money and effort.
Research officer John Paul Collins said the department’s New On-farm Technology Pilot Group of 12 stud and commercial sheep producers identified the five innovations mostly likely to drive productivity and profitability for WA sheep producers.
The initiative was a part of the department’s Sheep Industry Business Innovation project.
The ‘Five technology infusions for sheep producers to consider’ video was designed to assist sheep producers to make their own assessment of how these and other devices could benefit their businesses.
Mr Collins said the video featured five case studies that gave an insight into individual experiences with different products that benefit other producers.
“Remote cameras used for monitoring proved to be a major cost and time saver for the producer, who used it to monitor watering points, also providing peace of mind,” he said.
“Electronic identification devices (EID) used to collect data that assist producers to make selection decisions to optimise their flock genetics are also gaining interest in the sheep industry.
“The weight-based application of animal health products using EID takes livestock data collection to the next level, helping producers refine worm resistance management.
“Benchmarking flock genetics is becoming easier and cheaper and now tissue sampling units are being used to collect DNA samples for genomics tests to improve wool, meat and worm egg count selection decisions.
“Finally, proximity sensors to determine the maternal pedigree and ewe performance is a high level option to provide both genetic and generational advances to a commercial producer’s flock or a tool for stud breeders to determine maternal pedigree.”
Mr Collins told the LambEx audience the project also included a cost-benefit analysis of the tools, providing an insight into the payback on investment period.
“Most of the products had a payback period of between one and five years,” he said.
“While the payback time for the proximity sensors to determine maternal pedigree and ewe profitability was much longer, it has big potential in the future as it could be assumed that costs will come down.”
The ‘Five technology infusions for sheep producers to consider’ video and supporting economics will be available on the department’s Sheep Tech webpage soon.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937