Australian Rangeland Society

Angus Whyte, Wyndham Station, Via Wentworth NSW  2648.   Email:  wyndham3@bigpond.com

On a cool and windy September day, a total of 60 plus people gathered to have a close look at S. The day started in the woolshed talking about how to tell the difference between a really valuable tool and just something new and shiny that is cool.

A strong focus of the day was about developing a plan to make the most of new technologies and examining how they would fit into each producer’s management system.  The answer to this question would be different for each individual and that there is no one right (or wrong) way to manage a pastoral business.  In fact, it is much better for the whole community to embrace a diversity of methods, in line with a diversity of products they produce.  The focus should be more on the outcome or implications of different methods, here the talk was around increasing profitability and/or production also improving the resource base (environment, people and money).

As chairman of the regional Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC) committee Gus Whyte encouraged everyone to provide feedback on RD&A needs for the region and how that can be considered by research groups, extension providers and consultants.

After a wonderful smoko provided by the Pooncarie Outreach Centre School, we divided up into 5 smaller groups so that we could hear about each product/service and have time to ask questions to see if they would suit our respective needs.

The products/services included at the field day include:

Drones

Uses, mustering, water, fence monitoring – JSL Drones

Justin Leamon (JSL Drones) showing how drones compensate for wind, in front of an enthralled audience

 

Electronic ID

Hardware, software, data use, stock selection – GallagherSapienSheepmattersLeader Products

Anthony Shepherd (Sheepmatters) discussing the benefits of eID in sheep

 

Electric Fences

Multi species fences – WestonfenceGallagher

Duncan Abbey (Westonfence) discussing the new Gallagher “I series” energisers and how they help make Westonfence a more effective multi-species barrier

 

Telemetry

Satellite based monitoring – Farmbot

 

Planning and Record Keeping

Mapping, livestock records, chemical diary – AgriWebb

 

After every group had been around to the 5 work stations (40min), then we all came together for Ash Sweeting to put some perspective on the uses of technology in a rangeland environment.  Ash spoke of the importance of gathering relevant data, turning it into useful information, the payback however wouldn’t come until after you had made changes and acted on that information.  Attendees were also asked what their R&D requirements might be and some of the benefits of working as groups to resolve issues.

Below are some key points out of the day:

  • There is a range of tech for a range of purposes. Identify the areas of most potential gain in your business and look for tools to best address that.
  • Getting involved in tech isn’t necessarily expensive or overly difficult and potential returns can be huge.  Just an investment of $2,000, could save/make you 10 times that.
  • There is the risk of being overwhelmed by available tech and the data produced from it, if tools are purchased without a clear goal in mind.
  • When it comes to technology (and other issues) “it’s much easier to keep up, than catch up”.  Lack of skills shouldn’t be a barrier with lots of training programs (and grants through Local Land Services) available.
  • Forming groups to deal with issues is a very effective means of resolving problems, whether it be eliminating pests or R&D on sheep genetics for example.

 

The day finished up with a few refreshments and lots of talk about the opportunities that the day offered.

Thanks to Western Local Land Services, SAMRC and the Pooncarie Field Day Group for their generous support of the field day.  Also a big thanks to all the companies that made a huge effort to come out here and show their goods and services off so well.

If anyone would like to run a field day similar, or have another idea, they should contact Jasmine Wells at Western Local Land Services on 0417 488 496.

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