Web-based apps used by sheep producers and their advisors will draw on weather data to predict pasture production, feed budgets and risks from parasites, cold and heat stress.
This data will allow better decisions on culling, supplementation, management groupings etc. at joining, pregnancy scanning, weaning and shearing and ultimately determine what needs to happen to individual animals to improve wellbeing and productivity of the flock.
A large proportion of this work will focus on on-farm testing of the wellbeing App.
These tests will validate algorithms used in the determination of risk profiles and determine the efficiency of data transfer to and from farm management software providers.
As part of this process a benefit:cost analysis will also be completed which will provide the basis of the development of a sustainable business model for the App and the data platform.
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.
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.