Weighing technology has WOW factor for graziers

News release | 23-Apr-2018

The Queensland Government is upscaling a trial of new technology to improve livestock management by remotely weighing cattle.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Beef extension officer Karl McKellar said two new Walk Over Weighing (WOW) units would soon be installed at the Wambiana Grazing Trial near Charters Towers.

“Precision technology such as these WOW units will allow cattle weights to be monitored in real time,” Mr McKellar said.

“Changes in diet quality will also be closely followed and linked to satellite based measurements of pasture quality and quantity.

“Online support tools to assist producers to respond faster to changing seasonal conditions and in making decisions about if and when cattle should be marketed, supplemented or moved will then be developed in partnership with researchers from the Department of Environment and Science.

“The new WOW units will complement work being done around Queensland.

“The Department currently operates a WOW unit at the Spyglass Research Facility north of Charters Towers and DAF extension officers in other parts of the state are working with producers who own WOW units.”

Mr McKellar said the world-class WOW technology presented opportunities for producers to more efficiently run their business.

“Live weight is a critical measure for beef producers, however it’s difficult to collect without the cost of handling animals,” Mr McKellar said.

“Walk Over Weighing is less labour intensive as weight is recorded automatically when cattle enter or leave a controlled water point.

“This data is sent to a server via satellite or mobile phone where algorithms ensure the weight is valid to record.

“The information gathered can be used in a variety of ways to monitor livestock performance and improve management decisions.
“Examples include, monitoring heifer growth to ensure they are in the best condition before mating, determining when steer growth plateaus and supplementation is required and knowing how many animals are in the different weight ranges when planning sales and filling contracts.”

More information about Walk Over Weighing and other ways the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries supports Queensland’s $5.4 billion beef industry will be showcased at the Beef Australia 2018 event in Rockhampton from Sunday 6 May to Saturday 12 May.

Representatives from the Department’s beef extension and biosecurity teams will be at the Sidney Kidman Pavilion to provide support and extension advice to Queensland livestock producers.

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Media contact: Brad Muir , (07) 3087 8600