TECHNOLOGY

Feedlot auto drafter praised at Henty

A NEW auto drafter system that can weigh and draft sheep in a feedlot continuously without leaving the pens has been highly commended at the 2023 Henty Machine of the Year Award this week.

Staff Writer
 The Shepherd Feedlot Auto Drafter was highly commended at Henty this week. Photo: Mark Saunders.

The Shepherd Feedlot Auto Drafter was highly commended at Henty this week. Photo: Mark Saunders.

The Shepherd Feedlot Auto Drafter, entered by sheep feedlot and containment specialist Justin Dunn from Temora, New South Wales, received the commendation for its impressive design which increases animal welfare and labour efficiency.

"The drafter is installed between two pens so lambs who reach target weight can be drafted to the adjacent pen," Dunn said.  

"This enables lambs to be combined with other lambs of similar weight, reducing stress and shy feeding, and provides continuous data acquisition for marketing and performance.

"This system significantly reduces stress and risk of injury that often reduces growth performance.

"Time and labour are also reduced, and the system captures continuous performance data displayed on your mobile phone or web app."

Judge Warren Scheetz said with the potential for a heavy focus on containment feeding over the coming year, the Shepherd Feedlot Auto Drafter has a wide scope of application within the sheep industry.

"You want the stock to be as stress free as possible to optimise weight gain and this eliminates work for the producer, allowing them to electronically move animals from one pen to another once they reach a certain weight," Scheetz said.

Dunn also entered last year's Machine of the Year Award with the Road Runner, an off grid and solar powered loaded automated feeder with online connectivity, and was the winner of the 2018 Henty Agri-Innovators Award for his Shepherd Auto Feeder.   

An unmanned orchard sprayer, resulting from of a joint venture between John Deere and California-based technology company Global Unmanned Spray System, won the 2023 Henty Machine of the Year Award.

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