Walk over weighing in western Queensland
Walk over weighing (WOW) technology has been around for some time now and has seen steady on-farm adoption throughout parts of northern Queensland. However, to date, the technology is not widely used in the south-west of the state. Given the highly variable climate of western Queensland, the implications of getting real-time data offered by this technology could have big benefits such as – the potential to turn off stock sooner, conserve pasture or identify the need to supplement before visual signs of stock condition loss.
To test this theory (using real-time data for decision making), the GrazingFutures project has invested in a WOW system for south-west Queensland. The unit has been housed at Echo Hills, located between Roma and Taroom, since November 2018. Echo Hills Farming Company livestock managers Anna and Anthony Dunn have been integral in demonstrating the practicalities of the technology to other producers in the region.
To date, a total of 400 weaner steers, between two trials, have passed over the unit on Echo Hills with the initial trial looking at how real-time data affects the timeliness and accuracy of decisions. A second mob of cattle has since been over the scales as well, showing weights throughout a period of destocking due to the continuing drought conditions and low pasture growth.
The latest information:
The following resources have been developed to highlight the data collected from the two trials that were completed during 2019 and the on-property field day that showcased the WOW technology.
- ‘Technology for a better farm’ field day summary
- ‘Technology for a better farm’ field day key learnings booklet
- Trial mob 1 summary – Coming soon
- Trial mob 2 summary – Coming soon
As a result of the continuing drought conditions the trial was put on hold in November 2019.
What to look out for in 2020:
After receiving rain throughout January and February, the third trial commenced with approximately 90 heifers to begin passing over the unit in March. Season permitting, these heifers will be followed through to joining late in the year and calving in 2021 with plans to utilise the auto-drafting capability of the unit for supplement and treatment trials.
We are also planning on developing a suite of resources to showcase our south-western WOW experience including:
- Trial mob 3 updates
- Field day opportunities
- A video series featuring Echo Hills experience with the WOW unit.
If you have questions about WOW that you want answered or for more information, please get in touch!
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Charleville:
Caitlyn Frazer E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhonda Toms-Morgan E: email@example.com
This project is only possible with help from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Southern Queensland Landscapes, Tropical Beef Technology Services, ConnectAg and Echo Hills. It is primarily lead by the GrazingFutures project which is a Queensland Government initiative helping Queensland graziers to improve drought and business resilience.