Revolutionary Remote Walk Over Weighing delivers individual animal weights from the paddock
A remote walkover and drafting system has saved the Salter family a labour unit and rewarded the Dalby farmers with low-stress handling and better performance monitoring.
When Warren and Meg Salter first considered Tru-Test Remote Walk Over Weighing Flexi Drafter, they were running an 18,000-head cattle feedlot with a backgrounding program, turning over 60-80,000 head a year.
“From the start, we were into collecting weigh data and driving outcomes to meet target requirements,” Mr Salter said.
“In the intensive world, it is all about individual animal identification and monitoring. We were not working on lot averages but on individual animal performance and dealing with the selection criteria.
“We had had some contact with producers using the Remote Walk over Weighing systems and saw benefits such as cattle handling, limiting stress, all the positive factors that came out from the data they were collecting.”
By the time the Salters purchased the system, they were transitioning from intensive to extensive farming and looking for work-life balance.
Located near Dalby, Queensland, on the edge of the Darling Downs, they now run a mixed farming and grazing operation breeding Angus stud bulls and females adapted for the climatic conditions, and a commercial backgrounding and finishing operation.
With the shift, the Salters had to define a new structure and decide whether to bring on one or two work units outside of the family. The Tru-Test Remote Walk Over Weigh Flexi Drafting product came in to play.
When placed next to a water or food source, the Remote Walk over Weigh Flexi Drafter product weighs cattle in the paddock and drafts off top performers with little or no human intervention.
The new lighter-weight, more mobile Walk Over Weighing Flexi Drafter system saved labour costs and stress, while delivering consistent, useful individual animal data. It was also easily moved to where stock were located, rather than animals moving to the weigh system.
Mr Salter said it immediately saved one of those labour units.
“If you are collecting weigh data manually, it is obviously labour intensive, whereas we don’t need to be anywhere near the remote Flexi system, and we can have data presented to us as soon as the cattle are going through the crate,” he said.
The weighing system also meant that, know the weights of any mob, the Salters could plan more effectively.
“We can select which animals we need from which herd, put the Flexi Auto-drafter there, and the cattle are ready to pick up, whether they are ready for sale, or ready to move into a new program with our heifer joining weights or our stud program,” Mr Salter said. “That’s a huge benefit.”
The Salters are confident that the labour savings, low-stress handling and better performance monitoring have justified the investment in the system.
“Initially, I would have said return on investment was in the first 12 months, but I believe it is less than six,” Mr Salter said.
“With challenging conditions, management is more critical and needs to be timely. Remote Walk Over Weighing is an awesome system, certainly during the challenging seasons.”
Part of the appeal of the system for the Salter family was its ease of use. While there is a new mobile trailer option, the Salters relocate it with a skid steer.
“Our own bred cattle are familiarised with the unit while they are still with their mothers, Mr Salter said.
“There is no training to be had. Mum does it for us.”
To introduce newly purchased cattle to the system, the Salters remove the spears from the drafting unit.
“Within a day, they are using the box, totally relaxed,” Mr Salter said.
“With the weighing system it is hassle free, there is nothing to do really. You just present them in the right conditions and the cattle just train themselves.
“The Tru-Test Remote Walk Over Weighing Flexi Mobile Drafter makes a lot of sense.”
Article written by Datamars Livestock for Seasons magazine.