Reap benefits of data

By Country News

Individual animal management has the capacity to significantly improve a flock’s productivity if done the right way, according to AgriPartner Consulting livestock consultant Hamish Dickson.

Mr Dickson is one of the speakers who will feature in Meat & Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation’s It’s ewe time! forums, to be held in Cooma, Gunning and Cowra across three days this week.

He will discuss how using individual animal management can lift whole flock productivity, what is required to implement the technology and the cost benefits of investment in electronic identification and associated infrastructure.

‘‘We’re seeing a swing towards producers collecting more data in sheep enterprises, particularly at an individual animal level,’’ Mr Dickson said.

‘‘We need to consider if we are collecting the right data, how we’re going to use it and how it’s going to improve the overall enterprise.’’

He said producers should have a plan for where they wanted their enterprise to be in five to 10 years’ time, and use those goals to guide their decision-making in what data was required and how it could be used.

‘‘It may involve the use of technology in the collection of individual animal data, but we have to actually make sure that’s related to a production outcome,’’ he said.

Mr Dickson said commercial producers were using electronic identification and individual data more extensively for tasks such as identifying lambs based on growth rates.

‘‘Lambs with faster growth rates can then be managed differently to lambs with slower growth rates,’’ he said.

‘‘You could potentially improve the growth rates in the slower animals if it’s required.’’

With a range of technology and infrastructure available to aid in data collection, Mr Dickson recommended making buying decisions based on frequency of use and whether the data garnered was beneficial.

Southern NSW It’s ewe time! forums will be held:

■Tuesday, July 24 at the Alpine Hotel, Cooma, from 8.30am to 2pm;

■Wednesday, July 25 at Gunning Shire Hall, Gunning, from 8.30am to 2pm; and

■Thursday, July 26 at the Cowra Services Club, Cowra, from 8.30am to 2pm.

■For more information,