Trials on a walk-through weighing system, which was designed by CSIRO Livestock Industries and funded by the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Center (Sheep CRC), are underway.
The trailer-mounted system is completely self-contained and portable, runs on solar-powered 12-volt batteries and has been designed to operate from remote locations. The aim of the first stage of the project was to develop a walk-through weighing system that logs a sheep?s electronic identification tag and weight as it walks across electronic scales to a watering point or between paddocks. Each animal?s details are then sent via wireless link to an office computer.
"I see this as being a tremendous breakthrough. It gives us, as farmers, the ability to measure what?s happening on a regular basis without the stresses of going through yards and it saves on labor costs and time," stated Mr. Banks, a sheep producer who is testing the system, and who also provided input into the design.
The second stage of the project involves working toward the addition of automatic gates to the walk-through scales so animals that are underweight and in need of extra feed can be separated from productive animals.
In its third phase, the technology will add sensors that can detect flystrike or heavy worm infestation and separate those animals requiring special treatment.