On-farm labour has been identified as a key constraint in the expansion of the sheep flock within Western Australia (WA), particularly with broadacre cropping enterprises where sheep have a low priority in the labour management decisions. Using labour-saving technology will be imperative to increase the WA sheep flock and to attract and retain younger producers in the sheep industry. The on-farm technology activity demonstrated ‘state of the art’ labour-saving and flock management technologies to increase efficiency, traceability and enable better breeding within a sheep enterprise. It focused on best-practice in labour efficiency at the Katanning Research Facility.
The new on-farm technology pilot group (NOFTPG) was established in partnership with innovative and leading sheep producers. Producers who had ideas to share, and who were interested in being involved in demonstrating systems and devices to make sheep-work easier were selected.
Pilot group Terms of Reference
Purpose of the pilot group
- provide advice and guidance on the investment into new on-farm technology at the Katanning Research Facility to improve labour efficiency, traceability and breeding
- share knowledge and experience in testing new technology within their own sheep enterprises and give definitive feedback on prospective innovations and products
- be involved in further testing and modifying of innovations and products and share this knowledge with other sheep producers.
Outcomes and Outputs
- identified issues that may affect the success of the SIBI new on-farm technology project outcomes, delivery or adoption
- shared feedback from networks and peers on the level of adoption of new on-farm technology in sheep enterprises
- shared barriers to adoption of new on-farm technology and presented possible solutions to overcome these barriers
- where possible, tested, modified and adapted a product or innovation to fit into their own sheep enterprise and shared this experience through case studies, field days and industry events
- individually and collectively championed and promoted the project; encouraged participation and engagement
- assisted in promoting stakeholder and community ownership and supported the project and its deliverables.