The Land

Easy-to-use sheep handling technology

EFFICIENT SYSTEM: NSW stud breeders Nick and Mel Pagett have been using the BreedELITE system on their Winrae Dorper flock at Bundara, and it's helped them identify the most productive animals.

This is branded content for BreedELITE.

SHEEP producers are retaining the most productive sheep in their flocks, identifying freeloaders, and making faster genetic gains through the use of the BreedELITE Sheep System.

The software, developed by Greg Johnsson in 1999 on Kangaroo Island, and now widely used in stud and commercial flocks across Australia, is helping to boost profitability in sheep operations, with farmers using data to make informed breeding and management decisions.

The family-owned business develops products built specifically for Australian sheep production systems and environmental conditions, and producers are turning to the BreedELITE system as they're looking to make use of individual animal data in their operation, according to chief executive Tim Johnsson.

"They either need help to get started with EID (electronic identification) and data recording, and we can help them cut years off the journey and avoid wasting a huge amount of time and money on a system that doesn't quite work," Mr Johnsson said.

"Or, they have an existing system but feel it is holding them back. A big issue for these clients is they get stuck with a technology ceiling in their business - they know they can do more but it is just too hard with the software and tech they currently have. We help clients by being their one-stop tech support team for everything they need to do with their sheep data - this takes the hassle and stress off of them, as they know they have a system that works and get the training and support they need to succeed and breed elite sheep."

The ease of use has been a big benefit for commercial woolgrower Hayden Price, who runs about 5000 Merino ewes in the Crowlands area of Victoria.

Mr Price said using the software with the BreedELITE Smart Drafter has reduced labour on farm and made classing more efficient.

"We just wanted to be more productive and only have productive animals on the farm," he said.

"We can run bigger mobs, right up until the point of lambing, because we can draft them off very easily once we get to splitting them up into their lambing mobs, so feeding time is cut in half."

What sets the BreedELITE system apart is having all hardware - auto-draft and weigh, fleece weigh, barcode scanners, and EID readers - controlled by the BreedELITE sheep software.

"Data is entered in real time against the sheep as it is collected, which means farmers have confidence in all sheep data being one place, and access to real-time, in-yard analytics, so decisions can be implemented immediately, while the sheep are still in the yards. The other big advantage for our clients is that because all hardware is controlled by the software, we can give them new features and functionality without them needing to come back to us and purchase a newer piece of hardware - they can simply upgrade the software to have the latest functionality, similar to the way an iphone is updated."

For NSW stud breeders Matthew and Cherie Coddington, Roseville Park Merinos, Dubbo, being able to easily collect, interpret and present the data to ram buyers has made a big impact in the business, which has clients in most states of Australia.

"With the ability of the BreedELITE System we are able to do simple data sorts and provide our clients with up to 23 information points on 23 different traits for each ram that we sold," Mr Coddington said.

"We we're trying to do is take the guesswork out of selecting sheep - there's no guesswork when you use this system, when you measure the data that we measure and then we implement the genomic breeding value against it as well."

After-sales service is provided by a support team based in Adelaide who can control all devices remotely to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

"Tech issues are our problem, not yours," Mr Johnsson said.

"We place value on providing great support for our clients, so before we take on a new client or offer them any of our products, we work through a sheep technology audit with them to understand their short and long-term goals. This allows us to make sure that our system is the best system available to help them and we won't bring on a new client if we aren't confident that BreedELITE is the best thing on the market for them."

The products are also regularly updated based on client feedback.

"This keeps our system practical and simple and focused on the emerging needs of the industry," Mr Johnsson said.

"In every industry data is becoming more and more valuable, and your data recording system shouldn't just be a repository, but something that turns data into information and allows profitable decisions to be made quickly and implemented easily."

Having an adaptable system is a big benefit for Mel Pagett, who owns Winrae Dorpers at Bundara, NSW, and uses the BreedELITE system to drive on-farm productivity, helping to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the stud flock.

Mrs Pagett said being able to provide accurate data to clients was important as a seedstock producer.

"Because a lot of sales are online now, we've got so much data that we can give people out of the program, that makes it really easy for other people to then buy our animals with confidence that they've got all the information that they need.

"Now that we're using BreedELITE we're doing data collection on our entire stud, and that's also helping us to pick up traits within our stud that we want to encourage and traits that we would rather work on."

This is branded content for BreedELITE.