Producers hope sheep e-tags mean better business | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Producers hope sheep e-tags mean better business

A group of Western Victorian farmers are hoping to improve productivity and to measure specific traits in their lamb enterprises through the use of electronic identification tags or e-tags. The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is working with several southwest lamb producers in a project to examine the benefits and practicalities of electronic identification (EID) within their lamb enterprises. On Tuesday July 10, Matthew and Tanya Tonissen and Darren Schurmann will present their interim results and experiences at a field day near Hamilton. Project manager Maria Crawford said Matthew and Tanya Tonissen of ‘Chrome’, west of Hamilton, began using EID in their Poll Dorset stud flock two years ago. “Since January the Tonissens have been part of the pilot project examining the use of individual identification within their commercial flock,” Ms Crawford said. “They hope to discover ways to use the tags to improve the precision and productivity within their business.” As part of the trial, Matthew tagged all of their 2011 drop ewe lambs with the aim of collecting and using information to make more informed management decisions. “Things like lifetime lambing performance, the tracking of different sire groups, trigger weights and fat scores for ewe lamb joinings and many other things can be managed much easier and accurately with the use of EID technology,” Mr Tonissen said. “After three years of pregnancy scan data we will be able to easily identify any ewes that are not lambing at 150 per cent or better and cull them from the flock.” Fellow project members Darren and Kylie Schurmann at ‘Kingaroy,’ Strathkellar, want to be able to identify and measure individual sheep on their merit to lift productivity. Mr Schurmann said EID allowed additional measurements to be recorded easily, beyond those manually recorded, and to collect information more efficiently and accurately. “At ‘Kingaroy’, analysing and improving ewe reproduction efficiency by identifying high performing ewes, culling strategically and refining their management is made easier through the use of EID technology,” he said. Ms Crawford said through analysis of the information collected, extra value could be gained through breeding and selection of replacement ewes. “It can also be used to improve flock structure, manage nutrition and optimise compliance to market specifications when marketing lambs,” she said. “The project aims to learn from the knowledge of each of the cooperating producers, to examine how EID implementation works within their enterprise and how to apply the technology within the flocks to deliver productivity gains. The project is running a series of field days in the region to showcase EID in action. The July 10 field day will be at ’Chrome,’ 6111 Digby Dartmoor Rd, Hamilton,. Fire Map ref 473 A1A, from 9am to 12pm, with morning tea included. Admission is free but bookings are essential. For further information call Maria Crawford at DPI Hamilton on (03) 55730749 or to register please contact Kate McCue at DPI Warrnambool on (03) 55619902, 0407099793 or email: kate.mccue@dpi.vic.gov.au

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