WEATHER forecasts, six monthly fleece cuts and feed impacts on carcase quality are among new features on the predictive sheep management app ASKBILL.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) developed the web-based software to provide producers with timely and accurate predictions of sheep well-being and productivity using climate, stock and pasture information.
The incorporation of short and long-term weather forecasts to complement actual measurements and the long-term historic averages is among improvements and additions due to go live ASKBILL this week.
The latest version of ASKBILL has been made live to the producer testing group for final validation ahead of the full commercial launch later this year.
Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said the feedback provided to the Sheep CRC development team by producers and farm advisers participating in a user trial has resulted in the changes to enhance ASKBILL’s performance.
“The changes include fewer and better-targeted alerts, faster synchronising of predictions, and new features such as feed budget predictions out to six months to help producers plan from joining to lambing in a single step,” he said.
New features added to ASKBILL include:
- Predictions for carcase weight, fat coverage, and live weight for prime lambs finished on grass, with or without supplementation
- Predictions for greasy fleece weights up to six months out from shearing
- Inclusion of genetic information through the ability to import ram team Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs), and Flock Profile data from RamSelect to predict meat, fat, wool and live weight performance as flock genetics improve, and
- Addition of long-range predictions of the risk of flystrike, out to six months in advance, to optimise planning of chemical applications.
“These new features will enhance the usefulness of ASKBILL for sheep producers, improving their ability to minimise risk and maximise flock wellbeing and productivity,” Professor Rowe said.
Walcha grazier George Carter has participated in the testing process and has found ASKBILL invaluable in providing pasture forecasts to inform management decisions for meeting forward contracts for prime lambs.
“We can make sure those lambs hit their target specifications and if the forecast is that our pasture base will run short, we can plan the supplementary feeding of those animals to get them to the abattoir on time,” Mr Carter said.
“I can now budget with confidence knowing that my lambs are going to hit the market specifications. It’s all about making sure there’s no surprises.”
Source: Sheep CRC.