USING several different computer programs while running large family-owned cropping and prime lamb feedlot enterprises makes management time-consuming and can lead to inefficiencies.
But that is changing for the Simpson family of Binginbar Farms, Gollan, between Wellington and Dunedoo, with a Producer Innovation Fast Track (PIFT) system currently running trials with financial help of Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company.
Nathan Simpson said the innovative project when completed would combine all relevant data from differing on-farm activities into one database, stored on different programs.
“Up to now we use various software packages to manage many aspects of our business so we will utilise a command centre that will bring those different programs together into one dashboard,” Mr Simpson said.
“As well, we will have the analytics behind the programs to give us the information we need to make quicker and better decisions.”
Mr Simpson said the point of the exercise was to increase efficiencies.
“Applications such as AgriWebb and Sapien and others will link with Hitachi Processing Intelligence (HPI) to produce one dashboard,” he said.
Binginbar Farms turned-off 36,000 prime lambs from its on-farm feedlot between July 1, 2017 and August 31 this year.
To keep efficiencies throughout the fattening process, Nathan Simpson said it was important to know the potential or failings of each lamb.
The family has contracts with Thomas International Foods, Tamworth, to forward heavy trade lambs at 50 to 52 kilograms liveweight.
“We source lambs as weaners, mainly straight off their mothers and want to get them to 36kg in the paddock before they are inducted to the feedlot,” Mr Simpson said.
“On arrival lambs are electronically tagged with radio-frequency identification (RFID) then go through a quarantine induction process of foot bath to eliminate potential foot rot or foot abscess disease issues, are drenched and vaccinated then kept in a small paddock with access to multiple water sources, dams and troughs.
“We keep track of each lamb’s performance from this point until it leaves the property.”
Identification and data collection is done each time the lambs are weighed.
Once lambs reach the 36kg to 42kg range they are inducted into the feedlot and drafted into five weight-gain categories of 100 grams per day up to 500g.
“We start them on a 70 per cent silage ration and drop that by 10 per cent every two days until the 14th day when they stay at full concentrate ration,” he said.
To back efficiencies in the feedlot, every aspect of the farm needs also to be closely scrutinised.
So, water availability is essential.
Sensors are now installed on troughs and storage tanks too.
“We can tell how much water the lambs are drinking and if that is less, then we can check for blockages,” Mr Simpson said.
Weather, water and soil measure
A Hitachi Processing Intelligence system collects all data from differing systems installed at Binginbar Farms, Gollan, helping to manage the farming and feedlotting enterprises run by the Simpson family.
These include water, weather and soil measurements together with data collected on every single lamb introduced to the property.
Nathan Simpson said one of the big influences on the performance of stock in the feedlot was climatic conditions.
“We have done multiple trials to ascertain best practice in feed ration ingredients, and the varying intake and conversion ratios on weather conditions,” he said.
“We suspect weather conditions influence performance ratios and now weather stations installed should confirm or deny this.”