“The system gives me real time information on cattle weight, which is helpful to guide when to sell”
Installing Goanna Ag Rain Gauge Sensor at a Smart Farm, May 2020
WHAT IS E-BEEF?
The E-Beef Smart Farming Partnership is a three-year project supporting primary-producers with technology to assist with timely and informed management decisions. The project aims to not only increase animal production and business profitability, but also improve land condition.
E-Beef Smart Farms have been established to demonstrate that careful management of pasture and land condition, animal performance, and appropriate marketing are intrinsically linked to achieve business resilience.
The project is a partnership between three North Queensland NRM Regions – Southern Gulf, Northern Gulf, Desert Channels along with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
IN THE DESERT CHANNELS REGION
At the core of the project is the establishment of two E-Beef Smart Farms which include Richard Simpson from “Dalmore”, north of Longreach and Dick Cribb at “Gydia Park” near Isisford.
Both of these Smart Farms are provided with a Tru-Test Remote Walk-Over-Weigh unit that is installed at a water point on their property. These systems regularly record cattle weights through Tru-Test’s MiHub Livestock Management software for the producers to access and establish trends in cattle live-weight gain. This data is combined with satellite pasture data to inform likely cattle growth rates in the future.
The project also includes Producer Groups consisting of landholders from properties surrounding each Smart Farm, with over 14 landholders from the DCQ region associated with the two Smart Farms. The focus of these groups is for Smart Farms and other members to meet, both face-to-face at E-Beef Field Days and via online-meetings to share learnings and discuss new ideas on improving grazing systems.
Each property in the project also completes a business analysis of their agricultural enterprise using the Agrihive Financial Benchmarking software to establish how the decisions made using this data can further affect their land, livestock and business’ profitability.
Monthly reports are also shared as part of the project’s extension program to producer group members. These summaries contain cattle liveweight, satellite pasture quality and climate data (average maximum temperature and rainfall) and are distributed to primary producers to increase an informed understanding of the relationship of this data to their grazing business.
“The system gives me real time information on cattle weight, which is helpful to guide when to sell. I’m still learning the system, but so far it is a great set of data coming through each day.”
E-Beef Smart Farm Grazier, Dick Cribb owns “Gydia Park”, a gidyea and Mitchell grass downs property where he runs a mixed cattle business. Dick is aiming to use the new Walk-Over-Weigh technology to help plan his sales and potential draft off once they reach a certain weight.
Participants of DCQ E-Beef Producer Groups are also provided with a current satellite property map overlaying property infrastructure. Not only is this map useful for landholders to assess grazing pressure around watering points, it also allows landholders to plan new infrastructure on their property. These maps will align with the Avenza map program to assist with infrastructure planning on the fly within the paddock.
The third component of the project is the Technology Trial which involves grazing businesses within the Smart Farm Producer Groups trialling new industry-relevant technology. This is still being rolled out but will include new technology such as GPS ear tags and water monitoring sensors.
Through the E-BEEF ONLINE SERIES (Improving Productivity & Profitability in Grazing), the project delivered four webinars over four weeks in June 2020, providing landholders, extension staff and industry stakeholders with key insights on new and emerging technologies relevant to the grazing industry. Each session included a Q&A with the presenters and are well worth checking out.