THE ability to keep track and trace individual livestock through the use of eID technology is seeing a huge increase in information being available to Tasmanian farmers. With the mandatory implementation of the electronic Identification Devices (eID’s) looking likely in the near future, the experiences of graziers who have already embraced the technology will be vital in helping in the uptake. Ross farmer Will Bennett is one such person.
Mr Bennett runs 20,000 head of sheep on his property Ashby, and has been utilising the eID tags for several years now. His experiences have allowed him to better assess his flock’s data, conditions and history. “We can scan the sheep’s ear tag as they’re brought in for shearing,” Mr Bennett said. “That prints a barcode from our computer.
“On site here we have wool scales and an OFDA machine to test the wool’s microns. With that barcode we can instantly and automatically input all that information into a database. “Those measurements are ranked on an index for the entire flock, or for that paddock’s sheep. “At the end of the day we have a list of individual sheep with which we can rank their individual qualities, as well as the data they have previously recorded.
“We can see increases and decreases in the sheep’s data and we can easily select which sheep we’d like to keep an eye on in the paddock. “If we hit a dry time, we can choose which individuals we should get rid of rather than old sheep that might be producing better numbers, or sheep at random.
Mr Bennett said the system also allowed the wool to be precisely graded at the shearing process, meaning wool bales will have a very small range in microns. “It’s something we can all use to add value and precision to our product.”
“If we’re selling bales of wool with micron levels at a precise number, with the ability to trace back information to the sheep it came from, it suddenly puts us in a fantastic position as sellers.”