Farmers no longer have to manually weigh cattle, thanks to a new invention which is the brainchild of a creative Australian entrepreneur.
Bill Mitchell, founder and CEO of Optiweigh, has designed an automated in-paddock weighing system which provides farmers with a smart, fast, and cost-effective way to remotely monitor and measure weights of their livestock.
The product was officially launched in 2019 and is now available across every state in Australia.
Optiweigh’s self-powered system weighs the front two feet of the animal and uses highly accurate algorithms to generate whole body weights which are sent to the farmer in real-time to view on their smartphone or laptop.
The system is highly portable and can be towed from one paddock to another with ease, the creator explained.
Accurate real-time data
Within 2-3 days of deploying the device, the farmer receives an accurate snapshot of the weight of individual animals and the entire herd, without the need to spend hours travelling between enclosures to manually herd and weigh cattle.
This, the company added, saves fuel and reduces vehicle maintenance costs.
Remote weighing can also increase productivity, as the cattle can continue to graze without needing to be placed in a holding pen whilst waiting to be weighed.
The system depends on reliable 24/7 internet connectivity so that data can be continually collected, analysed and transmitted to farmers, but with many farms located in remote rural areas, a lack of reliable network connectivity is a common problem.
Optiweigh has integrated Inmarsat’s IsatData Pro (IDP) service as a cost-effective approach to send low-data-rate messaging from the device to software platform.
By leveraging Inmarsat’s global satellite network, the solution is able to operate effectively from any location.
Optiweigh was launched in early 2019 and now has 33 units placed across every state in Australia.
As Bill Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Optiweigh explained: “We are getting fantastic feedback from our customers.”
“One farm in Queensland had a weighing programme for 2,000 cattle that previously took three days from start-to-finish.”
He said they now weigh the herd remotely, with data automatically transmitted directly to their laptops or mobile phones.
“The high accuracy of this data has meant customers are able to sell cattle at the right time with higher returns, and these savings mean they have more money to invest back in their farms.”
The Optiweigh system and the objective data it generates has huge potential to enable the industry to become more environmentally friendly, he added.
For the first time, the company said, farmers can prove the live weight gain of their cattle and the time to market which could help to lower greenhouse gas emissions (in terms of methane from cattle and the extra fossil fuels used in the day-to-day operation) for each kilogram of beef produced.