WALK over weighing systems are now being used to automatically draft cattle, determine scrotal circumference, record calving interval and detect when a cow is cycling.
Attendees of the Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma heard from Central Queensland University PhD candidate Don Menzies about his thesis on using Precision Livestock Management technologies to improve reproductive efficiency in the northern Australian beef industry.
While in that locality producers may only see their cattle during branding and weaning the integration of spatial and temporal sensors recording RFID tags on a walk over weighing system could provide them with a data muster of information.
He said with the information they could now collect produces could reduce mustering cost, market their animals better based on growth rate figures, determine when a heifer was pubertal or how many calves she had in her lifetime.
“Within our group we are trying to use different technology and sensors to capture information on animals when we will see them at regular frequencies,” he said.
“Now in the northern beef industry you might only see cattle twice a year but they do congregate around water points once a day or a couple of times a day.”
The university has recently began studying an automatic drafting system fitted to the front of a walk over weighing system which would allow a producer to draft on a limitless basis.
“Whether it is sex, breed, property of origin, location status, pregnancy status, whether it is a weaner or it is a steer that has hit that 450kg it’s about being able to draft those animals rather than take them all back to the yards,” he said.
CQU’s engineering team have also used image analysis to determine whether a female with a kamar heat detection device on her back, used in AI to determine if she is oestrus, has ruptured.
Imagery can also measure a weaner’s scrotal circumference while a female’s cycle can be determined from the sequence she comes to water with a bull.