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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

New option for Walk Over Weighing for Sheep

Posted by Bestprac on Dec 04 2012

CRC FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY INNOVATION

Recording the performance of the Australia’s sheep flocks is to become quicker and easier, following development of a new mob-based walk over weighing system, as a result of an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC).

The prototype system, developed by Brisbane-based Rinstrum Smart Weighing Solutions, was the clear stand out among the expressions of interest received by the Sheep CRC, with its simple, yet effective design, both highly accurate and able to integrate with existing performance recording systems.

“The Rinstrum design is an outstanding find for the sheep industry,” Sheep CRC Chief Executive James Rowe said.

“Rinstrum are weighing specialists and they have been able to develop the prototype system using off the shelf parts, removing the need for investment in complex software systems and ensuring rapid commercialisation of the new systems.

“The data download system is excellent and, through its computer interface, it will be relatively easy to convert the weight data to meaningful reports, via the Sheep CRC’s Weigh Matrix program.”

Rinstrum Managing Director, Darren Pearson, said that following further refinement of the prototype, the product would retail to sheep producers for between $2000 and $3000 per unit.

“Rinstrum is a global leader in the design and manufacture of industrial weighing systems, and we are now applying our skills to specialist agricultural applications,” Mr Pearson said.

“We’re delighted the Sheep CRC has selected our walk-over-weighing prototype, which we believe will deliver sheep producers time and labour savings as it can provide accurate and easily-accessible data of mob liveweights.

“Our system also has scope for incorporation of RFID data collection, and the company is open to including this feature if required in the future.”

Operating as part of the Federal Department of Innovation Industry Science and Research’s CRC program, the Sheep CRC is a collaboration of industry, government and the commercial sector. It is working to increase the productivity and profitability of the industry through adoption of new technologies in both the meat and wool supply chains.

In May the Sheep CRC called for expressions of interest for the development and commercialisation of an integrated walk over weighing system for sheep, with $10,000 to be provided towards the manufacture and marketing of the best prototype judged on cost, accuracy, robustness, energy demand, data storage and ease of use.

Prof. Rowe said the initiative to encourage new entrants to the walk over weighing followed on from Sheep CRC research which demonstrated that mob-based walk over weighing technology could greatly assist management decisions in a sheep enterprise.

“Monitoring the live weight of sheep is important for grazing management and decisions on supplementary nutrition,” he said. “Weight change, as well as absolute average weight of a flock of sheep, has implications for reproductive performance accurately meeting market specifications and for animal health and welfare.

“Conventional weighing, or measuring the condition score, requires that sheep are brought into yards and requires labour as well as disturbing the sheep’s natural behaviour, resulting in time off feed, low level stress and loss of production.

“Walk over weighing makes use of the natural behaviour of sheep walking to watering points, between paddocks, or to access feed supplements. The new system not only collects weight data, but saves labour and facilitates more regular monitoring of weight change,” he said.

Rinstrum is currently working with the Sheep CRC to fine-tune the prototype at the Orange Research Station, NSW. It is anticipated that the new sheep weighing system will be available for purchase early in 2013.

More information on Walk Over Weighing is available on the Sheep CRC website or visit Rinstrum Smart Weighing Solutions.


Media contact:
Janelle Holzberger: 02 6773 2927
 

Last changed: Dec 05 2012

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