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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Water Technology Day: Narromine, 13 December 2011

Posted by Bestprac on Feb 07 2012

By Mark Gardner

On the 13th December some 32 producers and industry people gathered to look at and discuss new water monitoring technology and to see some in action on Mike and Meg Bennett’s property “Kirkton” Narromine, some 45 km west of Dubbo, on the banks of the Macquarie River.

The day show cased some of the latest technology related to water monitoring.

Key points:

  • Remote monitoring of stock water, pumps and engines can reduce emergencies and save time and costs.
  • New developments and applications are being developed on an ongoing basis
  • Costs of the technology have reduced, payback periods can be short. It can have a high return to capital

Presentations were made by a number of speakers. Mark Gardner, Vanguard Business Services and Bestprac facilitator spoke on a MLA funded Producer initiated R and D trial being run by Vanguard on Telemetry and remote monitoring of stock water. This trial is being run on the Harvey family farm, “The Gilgais” at Geurie.

This is a MACE sensor which bolts onto a pipe on the outlet side of a pump.The sensor can measure water flow rates and can be attached to an Observant Telemtery system to report back flow rates from pumps, as a low cost and non invasisve monitoring option.



Key points from this trial were presented and included:

  • Technology is a business choice, it needs to be evaluated and is not and end in itself
  • An introduction to a simple way of calculating the “Payback period” that is, the amount of time needed to recover the capital and installation costs, was given.
  • Telemetry in “The Gilgais” trial has shown great “non economic” benefits including; reducing time pressures, reducing stress and improving “sleepability at night”, overcoming labour shortages by saving time, making it possible to leave the farm with peace of mind as well as an economic return.
  • Payback periods are quick; less than a year if labour is costed at $30/hr.
  • The trial has freed up 10.50 hours per week of labour.
  • Camera technology can work well for remote visual monitoring of stock.
  • Monitoring can be portable, following the stock around. This saves capital costs.

Mark also spoke about emergency positioning devices and how this technology can be used to create safer workplaces at very low cost, particularly for workers who often work alone or in isolated situations. Fencing technology was also touched on.

Phil Whitten from Observant, the provider of the Telemetry spoke about how information can be collected and managed in order to provide powerful information. He gave examples of some of the cloud based solutions Observant is working on, with information now becoming available in the paddock to producers; on iPAD, iPhone and anywhere phone or internet coverage is available.

A visit to some of the MACE water monitoring technology in action was a highlight of the day.
Thanks to Mike and Meg Bennett for their hospitality and also to Macquarie River Food and Fibre for their assistance in organising the day.

Note: The next field day looking at “The Gilgai’s” Telemetry trial will be held in March 2012 (date to be set. If you would like to come to this day, please contact Mark Gardner ( who will make sure you get further information.



Attendees having a look at the display unit, in this case, a flow rate measure placed on a River Pump outlet pipe.


Last changed: Feb 08 2012



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