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Having the ability to manage livestock according to accurate weight data was one reason Charvel Grazing wanted a Gallagher TWR-5 Weigh Scale and Reader.
Charvel Grazing is run by the Hewitt family, who have been farming in Queensland’s Dawson Valley since the early 1900s.
The mixed operation comprises 1500 breeders and progeny, with the commercial herd including Herefords, Santa Gertrudis and Angus.
A fourth-generation producer, Fraser Hewitt says they grow the weaners out on oat crops, then sell them into the feeder market, with a small number kept on pasture to be sold as prime cattle.
Looking for a new weighing system, the family came across the Gallagher TWR-5 Weigh Scale & Reader at this year’s Beef Australia expo at Rockhampton.
“We’re working towards increasing our data accuracy,” Mr Hewitt explained.
“That’s pretty important to what we do, but it’s a slow process because we’re only a family operation with just a few hands on-deck, so it’s very labour intensive,” he continued.
“The Gallagher TWR-5 seemed to have less inputs required; you can really pick and choose what you want to put in, and what data you want to record against each animal, so it’s very simple to operate.”
Importantly, it also means they’re not spending time recording data they don't want.
“You can collect data, but it’s only useful if you actually use it,” Mr Hewitt said.
“When we process the cattle at weaning, we get a weaning weight and can record anything else we want, like any treatments given. The fact you can record batch numbers against the products you use, like a 5-in-1 or a drench and can see what each animal has had, is great.”
They can also set alerts or enter notes against each individual animal. This data is easily entered using the weigh scale’s bright, high-clarity, colour touch screen that is easy to read in sunlight – handy on a sunny day in the yards.
The Gallagher TWR-5 Weigh Scale & Reader allows the Hewitts to draft by weight, weight gain, EID list, or recorded data or traits.
With an integrated EID tag reader, rather than needing to connect a separate device to the weigh scale to read EID tags, the EID reader’s electronics are combined into the body of the TWR-5 Weigh Scale. This “all-in-one” solution means hands-free EID reading, so only one person needs to be in the yards.
The combination of the TWR-5’s ease of use and integrated EID tag reader work very well for the Hewitt family, with significant savings labour wise.
Time saved in faster, more accurate processes is also proving to be one of the benefits for a Gympie steer-backgrounding operation.
Danny and Kellie Attard, along with Danny’s father George, run 600 head on 81 hectares (200 acres) in south-east Queensland. The Attards buy in a mix of European breeds at around 280-300 kilograms, turning them off to a feedlot at around 480-500kg.
“Everything revolves around weight gain; it’s all a numbers game,” Mr Attard explained.
“It varies depending on the time of the year, but at the moment it’s taking us probably five months to get them up to the 480 mark. We’re working on making that four months though,” he continued.
“The numbers are important: we need to know who’s doing what sort of weight gain; so which ones do we keep, which do we sell when, and which ones do we need to cull.
“There was also another scale and panel reader setup here when we bought the place 12 months ago moving down from Mackay, and it was just a pain in the backside.
“I’d been looking at Gallagher for a while, we were really needing a better idea of what they’re doing. I saw this on the internet, and we liked it the more we looked into it.”
Mr Attard said the impact on the day-to-day management of their business had been substantial.
“Our data is far more accurate,” he explained.
“We know who’s putting weight on, and who isn’t. Who’s cost us money, and who’s making us money. On top of that, it’s just easy to use: it’s like a big smartphone with a touchscreen really. You can talk to it through your phone, too. It’s really good,” he said.
“So you don’t have to go back and spend hours in the office, just putting in data, it’s all there. You can sit there and just scroll through, having a beer instead, looking at what you want.”
“What we’ve done with the fence and the TW-3 Weigh Scale, it’s all about time and accuracy. We’re not wasting time now, checking stuff, all this Gallagher gear saves us heaps,” Mrs Attard added.
“And the quality of the products is really good too. Even down to the handles for the gates. We’ve converted pretty much all over to Gallagher now. We were using a cheaper brand, but we found they’re just not as good. The Gallagher ones last much better,” she said.
“Our Territory Manager is really good, any questions, we can just ring. We did an upgrade and our TM was away, so we rang the IT mob (Gallagher Customer Support) and they were good on the phone too. So the quality’s there and so is the support.”
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