November 2004 -- The ability to weigh sheep daily without handling them has the potential to revolutionize the industry reports the publication, Stuff, out of New Zealand.
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 between paddocks or to a watering point. Each animal?s details are then sent via wireless link to an office computer.
?I see this as being a tremendous breakthrough,? stated Mr. Banks, a sheep producer who provided design input and is testing the system. ?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.?
The second stage of the project involves working toward the addition of automatic gates to the walk-through scales so underweight animals in need of extra feed can be separated from productive animals.
The third phase of the project will include the addition of sensors that can detect flystrike or heavy worm infestation and separating those animals.