Many conversations occur about the cost of farming, whether it be cattle, sheep, cropping or other enterprises. Old practices can temper some costs, but cost of drench, spray, fuel and electricity are just some continuing cost impairments.
Some of these costs can be controlled, but for many, modern technology needs to be considered for the future.
We are well aware of some of the more recent technology changes. Many of these relate to cropping, where GPS tracking can now control over spraying, and over sowing, to limit costs. Modern tractors can also be controlled by GPS, and we are now moving toward driverless machinery.
At the recent Lardner Park steer trials monthly weigh in of steers, Producers were given a demonstration of the latest drone technology. In simple terms, “Smart Hanger” is programmed to scare birds from vineyards and some other very tempting crops.
For producers, this drone works off a programmed computer chip, and according to the presenter, what this drone can do, depends entirely on what you want it to do.
My suggestion on the day, was could you program it to take photos of wild dogs? The answer was yes. It can take night photos at intervals of 15 or 30 minutes, depending on programming. This could give producers a snapshot of where dogs are accessing paddocks, and then drop baits directly where needed. Truly, the mind boggles when thinking of what this drone could be used for.
This technology is not the be all to end all, but it does show where technology could lead us into the future. While considering this, one producer I have had a recent conversation with, mentioned how far behind our cattle selling system is, in his opinion.
Producers have numerous options available to them to buy and sell stock, but this producer fattens steers, or at times heifers.
In his opinion, we sell cattle by cents per kilogram liveweight in the saleyard system, so why do we still have to suffer open auction selling at some store cattle sales. In some Western District sales, liveweight selling occurs, and works very well with no proven disadvantage to the vendor.
At one end of the scale, producers deal with an antiquated selling system, according to this producer, and on the other, they are being led into new technology at a rapid rate. It could take time to change our selling system, but technology will leave many in its wake.