The testing of the new portable equipment was the idea of Australia Livestock Saleyards Association (ALSA), who have been granted funds by the state government to enable the full implementation of RFID scanning equipment into Victorian saleyards.
The trial of the new equipment was made possible by Brendan Cleary’s Scanclear business, which has the management rights to the Deniliquin and Finley sheep saleyards. Scanclear also conducts contract scanning and uploading of National Vendor Declarations (NVD) to the national database from remote and more seasonal sheep sales the likes of Jerilderie and Edenhope, and Euroa and Myrtleford cattle.
The pivot testing was conducted without any of the yarded sheep having NLIS electronic ear tags installed. This requirement, of course, became mandatory on January 2017 when all lambs born after this date need electronic tags fitted before departing their property of birth.
ALSA executive officer Mark McDonald said the trial - the first to be run under the ALSA banner - was about the placement of the scanners within the saleyard, and to gauge the flow of the stock in order to best perform both pre- and post-sale scanning functions.
Mr McDonald said the trial was conducted without tags being fitted to the sheep or software being available for the scanning. “When the software does become available our ALSA trials will continue to test both the tags and the suitability of the scanning software and hardware to perform the tasks required,” he said.
The interest generated by curious onlookers was interesting to observe.
While those with weekly markets to conduct inquired, however those who operate away from regular markets or have other interests generally displayed their disdain, especially along the lines of being an inconvenience, not necessary, and/or a costly imposition.
That said the trial appeared to function without much disruption to the sale’s preparation.
Although to be truthfully honest the participating agents didn’t appear overly interested until, that is, pens of sheep were removed from their sale pens without being checked by their delivery yard-staff, which is a definite “no-no” in the saleyard business.
Agriculture Victoria NLIS officer Marnie Dortmans, Ballarat, said the trial although conducted without tags or software did meet the needs of the NLIS sheep and goat scanning program, which sees the scanning of lambs in saleyards become mandatory by March 31, 2018.