7th Asian-Australasian Conference on Precision Agriculture, 15th-20th October 2017

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Matt Holden - Kelson Tuto Totara

“We've been seriously weighing stock since 1992.  That seems in the dark ages now." 

Matt HoldenTen years later we bought an XR3000 combined with the Bluetooth RFID wand. It’s an incredibly simple and effective piece of farm kit!

It’s revolutionised how we do things with both the stud and the commercial flocks. We use it across all our stock classes – sheep, cattle and deer for weighing, pregnancy scanning, drafting, TB testing and recording mate groups. It’s bloody magic. It is an investment in future production because when something is measured it can be managed. The options are limitless; it’s a matter of thinking outside the square to get the best out of it.

The benefits flow well beyond the farm gate, through the supply chain to the market. But the animal and data capture has to start on the farm and the key is that it’s user friendly. Tru-Test is very user-friendly and makes communicating accurately and quickly with AbacusBio, Pfizer Animal Health and Sheep Improvement Limited a breeze.

Ten years ago Kelso stud mating required 42 pages of A4 containing all the mate groups, and the 2,500 ewes were marked and drafted 17 ways for mating, all manually. This took four of us three days, with the ever-present chance of human error in transcribing or drafting. It now takes just minutes to upload an Excel spreadsheet with all the tag numbers and draft criteria into the XR3000 and we’re ready, and I can do much of it from my office with a cup of coffee and Radio Sport on.

Being able to draft by any criteria – liveweight, weight gain, particular mob, crop versus grass – speeds up decision-making and improves overall performance. Rapidly reducing the time sheep spend in the yards is critical, too, because I’ve never seen a sheep gain weight in the yards.

Mobility is another big feature. With internal batteries, Bluetooth and being weather proof we are never limited to the sheep yards – we can set up with the Prattley yards anywhere and perform the same tasks we can do in the sheep yards.

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