Using walk over weighing and remote camera monitoring to identify key management triggers and reduce costs

The objectives of the Walk over weighing (WOW) project are to:

  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of walk over weighing equipment to help producers pinpoint timing of sale.
  • Identify trigger points for making key management decisions for timing of supplementation and gauge effectiveness of supplementation e.g. ‘when cattle liveweights plateau, start feeding supplement’ or ‘when pasture dry matter digestibility reaches 50%, start feeding’.
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of remote camera equipment to monitor water trough levels and pasture condition remotely.
  • Correlate faecal NIRS results with management triggers.
  • Increase producer understanding of changes in pasture quality and subsequent impacts on animal liveweight performance.
  • Shared knowledge and experience with the wider industry.

Progress to date

The Richmond Beef Challenge and Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) group are demonstrating the use and effectiveness of automated walk over weighing (WOW) and remote camera monitoring equipment. The PDS is run in conjunction with a local steer grow out challenge. Data collected by the WOW equipment has enabled the PDS group to hold off from starting to feed dry lick for six weeks compared to the neighbouring Flinders Beef Challenge. This has significant implications in terms of cost savings in the commercial industry.

The remote monitoring camera focused on the water trough has reduced labour needs and vehicle costs by reducing the frequency of ‘water runs’ to the paddock by the property manager. Similarly, the pasture camera that monitors the pasture condition changes throughout the trial has enabled photos to be matched to data from faecal NIRS sample collection and their associated results.

At the March manual weigh day, the group decided to put in the next cohort of steers before the current cohort is sent to the abattoir. They also wanted to increase the number of steers in the paddock to better reflect the district average stocking rate. An additional 89 head of 250–350kg steers were inducted into the paddock on Friday 8 June 2012. The group are also interested in adding an auto-draft unit to the current WOW equipment.

Progress of cattle can be followed on the website http://live.usee.com/; scroll down to the Richmond Beef Challenge link.

Contact: Emma Black E: emma.black@daf.qld.gov.au

Where: Richmond, North Queensland

When: June 2011–ongoing

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