Precision and Useful Data Improve Output at Conningdale
Using the TSi weighing and EID system means cattle and sheep farmers Jock and Shara Menzies are no longer having problems meeting their customers' stringent specifications for accuracy. They also use the TSi in conjunction with the Sheep Auto Drafter and say both Gallagher products are invaluable for making stock management and quality control simple, fast and accurate.
Jock Menzies: He saw the TSi at a field day and said, ‘that’s what I’ve been looking for forever’.”
Jock Menzies says, “The first time I saw Dave Clothier [Gallagher’s Northern NSW and Southern Queensland Territory Manager] with a TSi at a field day, I said, ‘that’s what I’ve been looking for forever’.”
Jock, 43, and his wife Shara, run Angus, Hereford and Angus-cross cattle, superfine Merinos and cross-bred lambs on their Armidale, NSW, property, 'Conningdale'.
A substantial operation, they turn off around 75 head of cattle a fortnight to Woolworths. Jock says theTSi, along with a Sheep Auto Drafter and Handheld Electronic Reader (also from Gallagher Animal Management) have improved their operation on several fronts.
“In the past, we’ve had problems meeting our specifications to Woolworths, because if you are even just a kilo over, you miss out on the grid. The Handheld Reader and TSi allow us to identify the best-performing animals."
"We can look at average daily weight gains, the current average daily weight gains, and also the withholding period on each individual. It’s fantastic."
“You can keep track of all your animal health on each individual animal, and we find that invaluable for management and quality control.”
Jock says they use the Sheep Auto Drafter to draft all cattle. “We have a hydraulic, air-operated crush from Ramage Engineering, with the Handheld Reader on the side and the TSi wired up to that."
“The system has allowed us to speed up our whole operation. Previously we were using a Ruddweigh 700, and the difference is absolutely amazing."
"We can put 50-80 cattle an hour through the TSi and yards, including doing a normal 5-in-1 injection, weighing each one, then drafting them. It is fairly quick — and that’s just with 2 people.
“Our cattle graze Italian rye grass, and we supplement grain. When you consider that for every hour cattle are off feed you’re losing production, it is very important to have fast throughput.”
Jock says the TSi helps them tailor management. “We keep track of which paddock cattle go into, how long they are in there for, and - because we are feeding in the paddock - we keep constant track of how much grain in that paddock is being eaten, so we can target what we are doing. We would never be able to do that if we were not using the TSi.”
Jock says in the future they will use the TSi on their sheep operation: specifically lambs and stud stock. “It gives us detailed data for individual animals in all sorts of areas we’ve never been able to track in the past. I think it’s the only way forward.”
Straightforward and profitable
Jock’s family farmed beef in Scotland, but moved to Australia in the late 1980s to escape piles of paperwork. Deriving all income on farm, Jock says his approach is to look for straightforward, profitable methods, and he’s not into 'mucking around'.
“Over the years, I’ve watched a lot of blokes collect piles of data, then sit in the office and process it all. But unless you are able to use that in a practical sense, it wastes a lot of time and lot of effort. That’s what I liked about the TSi: I could actually see that it was going to benefit my business, without wasting time. When you make a mistake on the thing, it is there in front of you. If you need to go backwards, you can, and you really don’t have to be brilliant with computers to do it.”
“The TSi itself is really a godsend, because it just does what we want it to do in the paddock: you don’t have to go back to the office and look things up, it is all in the thing and there it is. I don’t have time to be sitting around at a desk. When you derive your income from the paddock, you don’t want to be sitting in front of a computer all night and day.”