Electronic identification (eID) technology is offering sheep producers a chance to improve sheep breeding selection, animal well-being and performance management of their flock.
To assist producers to capitalise on the opportunities, a field day was run at Mt William, Guyra on Tuesday.
The field day included presentations to showcase the application and benefits of integrating eID technology, genetics and techno grazing.
Sheep CRC Industry Engagement and Training Coordinator Lu Hogan said eID technology was a great tool for commercial breeders to improve within flock ewe selection and reduce variability within their flocks.
"The additional information generated by eID combined with the use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) can support rapid improvement in flock quality and wellbeing," Mrs Hogan said.
The field day at Mt William Merino was hosted by Rob Kelly and Fiona Macarthur, who run 1650 Merino ewes and breed their own rams on a 1500 hectare mixed livestock property in the New England region.
Mr Kelly first started using eID technology in 2001 and now uses it across his entire Merino enterprise; collecting valuable data information on fibre diametre, fleece weight, live weight, pregnancy status and progeny identification. "The accuracy and ease of data collection with eID provides valuable information quickly and with less labour intensity," Mr Kelly said.
Mr Kelly was joined by an expert line-up of presenters including Lu Hogan, Jim Meckiff from Allflex, Andrew Donoghue from Practical Systems, Bill Harris of Laserworld, and Hamish Chandler from Sheep Genetics.
Mr Kelly said while leading stud breeders were already using eID technology to monitor their flock and make selection decisions, there was still room for more knowledge among producers in the Guyra region.
"This course was a great opportunity for local sheep producers to gain practical skills through interaction with industry experts," he said. "This knowledge is immediately applicable and will generate long term benefits for their businesses."
During the morning session, sheep producers had the opportunity to learn about the opportunities that eID offers to increase the performance of their enterprise.
"We also learnt about manipulating and interpreting data, as well as defining management strategies to effectively use information," Mr Kelly said. The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation is co-funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program Transforming wool, meat and the sheep that produce them
The afternoon session included inspection of pastures; practical demonstrations of fat scoring and classing using eID and using Rampower and ASBVs for breeding and selection.
More information is available online at www.sheepcrc.org.au
Media contact: Michael Thomson on 07 4927 0805 / 0408 819 666