A new digital scanning system is cutting stock processing time and costs in half at the Casterton saleyards - an annual saving worth tens of thousands of dollars to Glenelg Shire Council.
The state of the art Outcross scanning system was put into operation at the end of financial year cattle market on June 18, where more than 1400 head were processed within three hours.
Saleyards manager Michael Doherty said the task had previously taken up to six hours or longer, with staff working late into the evening and starting in the early morning, posing an occupational health and safety risk.
"The new scanner, which is connected to the weighbridge, has taken away the manual processing required with tracking and weighing both cattle and sheep," Mr Doherty said.
"Rather than having a team of staff moving, weighing and manually documenting the weights, the scanner feeds all of the information direct into a database by reading the ear tag data, ensuring all stock are promptly tracked and processed ready for the market.
"This system is significantly more efficient, providing direct time and money savings for not only council but the vendor, buyer and agent.
"It is estimated tens of thousands of dollars in staffing costs will be saved by the digital process in the next year alone."
Mortlake leads the way
Mortlake's Western Victorian Livestock Exchange has been using the technology since opening 18 months ago.
Manager Tim Nowell said they were one of the first in the state to adopt the savvy system.
"I'd nearly say we were one of the first, and now all our competition have started using it since seeing how well it's worked for us," he said.
"From the minute the cattle come into the gate at Mortlake, the OutCross system comes into place and allows for full traceability of the animals at all times.
"It means it's almost impossible for an animal to go missing.
"It's a great system, it reduces costs and staff members, and as a manager compiles all the data, whose cattle they were, who purchased them, what their price was, it captures everything.
"There's so many benefits it's not funny."
System streamlined at Warrnambool
The electronic identification scanning system is in full swing at the Warrnambool Livestock Exchange (WLE), with a $110,000 reader installed at the saleyards last week.
The WLE's Paul White said the saleyard had been using the software for a number of years now.
"We do it quicker than anyone in Australia because we weigh and scan together," he said.
"Before we used to just weigh them and scan the animals in the individual pens that are going to be sold in.
"Whereas now we can just scan them in vendor lots and buyer lots and track them right through.
"We can get 1000 cattle weighed in just two hours."
The Casterton saleyards will use the system for all sheep and cattle processing, with reports directly fed to a live database for real-time analysis by council staff and agents who can on-share the information with their vendors and buyers.
This story originally appeared on The Standard