by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2017-18
FARM AUTOMATION & SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY EXPENDITURE DURING 2017/18 $1,656,000 project expenditure INVESTMENT FOCUS • Development of low-cost, smart sheep ear tags capable of generating maternal pedigree (mothering up), geo-location, and other behavioural information of commercial value such as wild dog and flystrike alert notifications. • Support development of virtual fencing, for precise grazing management, but also potential stock movement. • Development of platforms to enable automated pasture production assessment and its integration into farm apps such as the LTEM app. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2016/17 to 2018/19 Progress during 2017/18 1. Develop and demonstrate across sheep production systems smart sheep ear tags capable of generating maternal pedigree, automatic geo-location, and welfare alerts, and integrating with virtual fencing advances. On target. The design of a solar-powered ear tag and a battery-powered collar has been finalised. The technology provides a combination of accelerometer (measuring the acceleration of a moving animal), proximity and position data to track the movement and activity of the animals, and obtain information about maternal pedigree and interactions between rams and ewes. 2. Integrate pasture feedbase assessment technologies into digital farm management tools. Target revised. This target has been removed from the Farm Automation & Software Development program but is still of relevance to the Feedbase & Eco-credentials program. KEY RESULTS DURING 2017/18 • Good progress has been made in the development of the AWI smart tags. Power management and data collection have been optimised enabling the addition of an accelerometer sensor in the device. Data generated by the accelerometer will provide useful information about activity and specific movements of the animals. A long-term trial has been set up in Cattai (NSW) where the prototypes of the ear and the collar tags are first tested in the paddock. Future trials in research and commercial properties are being planned to test long-term robustness and retention of the tags but also to investigate the sheep behaviour to help woolgrowers optimise their flock’s productivity; for example, in relation to flystrike management, wild dog alerts, grazing optimisation, health alerts and reproduction optimisation. • AWI continues supporting the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Rural R&D for Profit Virtual Herding project. The project aims to evaluate the on-farm application of virtual herding technology, demonstrate its implementation, and quantify and extend its benefits across Australia’s major livestock industries. The first group of experiments were conducted in February 2017 and examined the associative learning of sheep in response to audio and electrical cues to enable sufficient control, but not compromise both behavioural and physiological aspects of animal welfare. • AWI has investigated simple and cost-effective ways for woolgrowers across Australia to establish more effective wireless connections on their farms. Specifically, AWI has looked at ways to provide wireless point-to-point and/or point to-multipoint network links to enhance and distribute internet and other wireless connectivity on properties. During this year, 10 woolgrowers have taken part in a pilot to test this technology to assess whether a more widespread roll out of the technology is feasible. Vision from a camera on a wireless network at Tony Butler’s property at Newstead, Victoria, also showing the point-to-point antenna (bottom-right) that is able to create reliable links over 20km line of site. 34 REPORT OF 2017/18 OPERATIONS – SHEEP PRODUCTION
AWI Annual Report 2016-17