Working Smarter Not Harder: Is technology the key to our Grazing Future?

On Friday 19th of July, Mt Surprise hosted the first E-Beef Smart Farm Field Day in the Northern Gulf region attended by more than 50 people, who explored the future of grazing in North Queensland.

Workshop attendees on-site at Mt Surprise Station

New and emerging technologies took centre stage for most of the day. Trutests Walk-Over-Weigh (Wow) system was the main showcase for the day, demonstrating how cattle liveweight data can be collected, transmitted and analysed day-after-day without human intervention. A site visit to an active WoW system took place leading up to lunch, as the attendees car pooled out to Mt Surprise Station to view the E-Beef Smart Farm Demonstration Property, operated by Matt McClymont and family.

Wow system App on a smartphone

In the lead up to the site visit the crowd listened to Tim Driver, the innovator of the WoW system, as he gave unique insights into the history and capabilities of the technology.

Other technological innovations were displayed throughout the day. The crowd was introduced to FarmECCO, a technology partner for the E-Beef project that acts as an online business management tool that is helping grazing businesses to take control of their enterprise and their finances. Jason Chaffey from Agersens presented on the potential role of virtual fencing in Australia’s grazing industry, and Will Harrington explored the role of Agtech in proving farm management solutions.

The day’s final session shifted focus and explored some other major themes within the grazing industry. Sally Fields from Northern Gulf Resource Management Group provided a crash-course in regenerative agriculture and the role of soils in a healthy grazing system. Michelle Sangricoli from DNRME outlined important information relating to vegetation management and legislation in Queensland. Finally, Erica Hughes (Farmermeetsfoodie) wrapped up the day with a glimpse into the world of station and farm marketing that could help grazier’s enter new, premium markets.

Northern Gulf’s Intensive Agricultural Officer, Sally Fields

So what’s next for the E-Beef Project? On Friday 26thof July Northern Gulf closed applications for its Mt Surprise Innovation Hub – an exclusive producer group for the region that will take part in the E-Beef project until 2022. While the Innovation Hub forms, the projects new Smart Farm Demonstration Property in Almaden will begin to install its new WoW system. Scardon’s Hill Station, operated by James and Janelle O’shea, was recently selected to join Mt Surprise Station as a Demonstration Property for the E-Beef Project.

By the end of 2019, the E-Beef Smart Farm Project will involve six Demonstration Properties throughout Western Queensland, two in each of the three NRM regions involved. Likewise, there will be a total of six innovation hubs across the NRM organisations. The extensiveness of the project, in terms of both the distribution and sheer number of grazier’s and partner organisations involved, offers tremendous potential for improving the productivity and profitability of Queensland’s grazing industry.

Joe Rolfe (DAF), Michael Aspinall (Beverley Hills Station in Einasleigh) and, Anne Allison (Southern Gulf NRM)

The E-Beef Project is a partnership between Southern Gulf NRM, Northern Gulf Resource Management Group, Desert Channels Qld and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) who are working together towards a common goal: to implement grazing best management practice by demonstrating how timely management decisions can enhance pastures, ground cover, soils, land condition, business profitability and adaptability.

For more information email our Rangelands Officer at john.mclaughlin@northerngulf.com.au

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