Monitoring sheep wellbeing


Evaluate new monitoring systems that will be able to assess on an individual level the wellbeing of a sheep on commercial properties. 

This work will involve three key measurement areas including: automated condition score, wool cortisol measures that may reflect resilience to stress and image analysis methodologies that will allow identification of animal’s compromised by lameness or flystrike or the identification of animals that deviate markedly from normal body temperature.

In these cases the objective is to automate data collection where possible and to identify technologies that will facilitate these measurements.

Automated measurement of condition score in off-shears animals using image analysis tools will standardise measurement across flocks and will also facilitate calculation of condition score change that could be utilized in the data platform to determine risk.

Measurement of body temperature changes in real time, facilitated through small RFID implants, will allow the identification of animals with a fever and provide priority rankings for treatment as will image analysis for lameness, flystrike and dags.


Practical Wisdom Notes / Fact Sheets

Pedigree Matchmaker – determining dam pedigree

Recording full pedigree (sire and dam) will improve the rate of genetic gain in a ram breeding flock. Commercial producers are also interested in knowing dam pedigree as a way of monitoring individual reproductive performance in ewe flocks. Pedigree MatchMaker can be used in conjunction with sire joining records to determine pedigree and is less costly than DNA parentage tests or visually mothering-up lambs. In Sheep CRC trials, between 85–95% of lambs were matched to their dam with up to 96% accuracy using the Pedigree MatchMaker.
 


Profiting from Individual Electronic Identification (eID)

The Harvey family operate Gilgai Farms at Geurie in Central West NSW. They run a fine/superfine Merino flock and a Simmental beef herd on 2,800 hectares, which is grazed using Holistic Management principles.
The Harveys had been visually selecting, micron testing and fleece weighing their hoggets for some 15 years and were looking for the next productivity leap for their Merino flock. They decided to trial individual electronic identification technology so they could better identify highly productive animals for retention in the flock. Individual animal performance measures were collected prior to and at the 2015 ewe hogget shearing.  For each ewe hogget the information collected was used to generate a Rampower Index Value and Ranking. This information was used to select replacement ewes for the flock and culls for sale.

 


Products & Training Resources

Australian Sheep Breeding Values - A guide for ram buyers

International Sheep and Wool Handbook

Marketing your sheep with genetic data

News Releases

Understanding why farmers are pressing the app buttons
Despite the proliferation of new technology in agriculture, very little is known about the effectiveness of these new tools in improving primary productivity and adoption of new practices. A new research project from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) will evaluate the use of smartphone apps in the industry and producer attitudes towards these tools, in order to ensure future tools and... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/understanding-why-farmers-are-pressing-the-app-buttons-22-09-2016.php
UNE app development team leads the way for the sheep industry
The team behind the popular web-based app RamSelect Plus is already turning its attention to finding new solutions to the data challenges facing the sheep industry. The next project on the cards for the University of New England (UNE) Agile App team is to develop an early intervention sheep management app for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) so that producers can ensure all animals in... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/une-app-development-team-leads-the-way-for-the-sheep-industry-22-08-2016.php
ParaBoss founder puts down the microscope
Australia’s leading sheep parasitologist, Dr Brown Besier, is drawing the curtain on a 47-year career which has delivered the industry major breakthroughs in the management of worms. Dr Besier, Principal Veterinary Parasitologist at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, was instrumental in the development and introduction in 2014 of the Barbervax vaccine to Australia, as well as a new ‘targeted treatment’ approach... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/paraboss-founder-puts-down-the-microscope-06-07-2016.php
Major upgrade on the way for RamSelect.com.au
Commercial sheep breeders could soon have access to a new DNA test that profiles the average genetic merit of their flock. This new information will increase the precision with which rams can be selected to have the greatest impact on flock performance. The DNA test results will feature in an upgraded RamSelect app, which will also allow breeders to store details of flock rams and their genetic merit in order to make better... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/major-upgrade-on-the-way-for-ramselectcomau-21-06-2016.php
Two CRCs join forces to deliver big data solutions for livestock
Managing the well-being of sheep is set to become significantly easier for producers, thanks to a new collaboration tapping into the data science used in Australia’s national security systems. An agreement between the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and the Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (D2D CRC) will see the two groups working together to develop new data-based... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/two-crcs-join-forces-to-deliver-big-data-solutions-for-livestock-31-05-2016.php
Agriculture ripe for big data revolution
Agriculture is the ideal target for the development of new big data applications which can convert decades of research into usable information for farmers, according to chief executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), James Rowe. Speaking at yesterday’s Connect Expo Big Data Strategy Summit in Melbourne, Prof. Rowe told the conference that agriculture was particularly well... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/agriculture-ripe-for-big-data-revolution-21-04-2016.php
EID for sheep pays quick dividends at Gilgai Farms
Implementing electronic identification (eID) and individual measurement has delivered both immediate and ongoing financial returns for Geurie, NSW, sheep producer, Eric Harvey. The eID system allowed him to quickly identify high and low performing animals, with subsequent culling improving the overall flock value by $4/head. Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/eid-for-sheep-pays-quick-dividends-at-gilgai-farms-15-03-2016.php
Less is more for WOW data
In the new world of "Big Data" determining what data is reliable and what is just "noise" is vital, and the case for in-paddock walk-over-weighing (WOW) of sheep liveweight is no different according to Holmes Sackett farm business consultant David Brown. The University of New England PhD graduate based his research on the use of WOW as a potential technology for regularly and precisely recording the live weights of individual... Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/less-is-more-for-wow-data-25-01-2016.php
Helping our producers move into the digital age
Australian sheep producers will have new tools to improve genetics, on-farm management and farmgate returns from a new research project supported by the Coalition Government. Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/helping-our-producers-move-into-the-digital-age-28-10-2015.php
Animal welfare social research to the next level
Researchers have begun a series of sheep producer focus groups to examine in detail current monitoring practices and their attitudes towards animal welfare. Click Here To Read Full Article » http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/information/news/animal-welfare-social-research-to-the-next-level-16-06-2015.php
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