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Beyond the Bale : December 2017
NUFFIELD SCHOLAR FOCUSING ON TECHNOLOGY Scott Nicholson from Stawell in Victoria has been awarded the 2018 Nuffield Scholarship supported by AWI. By supporting the Nuffield Scholarship program each year, AWI is increasing practical farming knowledge and management skills in the Australian wool industry. 2018 AWI-supported Nuffield scholar, Scott Nicholson, will research ways technology can help modernise and improve profitability in the sheep and wool industry. Scott operates Bretton Estate, 2,900 hectares of owned and leased land with a mixed farming system that includes 4,500 Merino ewes for wool and lamb, broadacre dryland cropping, hay production and a lamb finishing system. Scott is also a partner in Sohnic Merinos at Marnoo, which is focused on breeding Merinos to optimise overall profitability. He believes technology such as the adoption of mandatory electronic identification (EID) tags in Victoria has great potential to boost the industry through its improved traceability of individual sheep. During his Nuffield studies, Scott Nicholson will research ways technology can help modernise and improve profitability in the sheep and wool industry. Scott said the industry can expand on this and will focus on researching technology in DNA and genomics; EID for performance recording and feedback; farm management software; handling and drafting equipment; drones and robotics; virtual fencing and remote sensors. “Technology is everywhere, it’s just a matter of sorting out the developments that can be of real benefit to the industry,” he said. Scott will travel to sheep producing countries to see the technology used in New Zealand, and North and South America to evaluate what could be adopted in Australia to make sheep producers’ enterprises more efficient and profitable. MORE INFORMATION Information on previous AWI Nuffield woolgrower scholars and their reports are available at www.wool.com/nuffield Scott Nicholson developed the award winning Bretton Auto-feeder. BRETTON AUTO-FEEDER Scott is no stranger to technology and innovation, and is an award- winning inventor himself, having won an award at Sheepvention’s ‘farm inventors competition’ for the Bretton Auto-feeder. The Bretton Auto-feeder is an automatically filled feed trough for grain based finishing systems. “With current climatic conditions a lot of the grass-based systems are falling short. Grain finishing systems are becoming a necessity if you want more options to finish your stock,” Scott says. “Anyone who has had experience feeding livestock in the traditional manner knows how time consuming it can be. An auto-feeder can save a lot of time and effort.” The Bretton Auto-feeder must be connected to a field-bin or silo at one end and power at the other end. The feeder auger automatically switches itself on and off when required to ensure there is always feed available until the field-bin or silo is empty. Scott says one feeder can feed up to 1,000 lambs, 500 per side/pen, based on an 18 metre feeder. “One fill and you have feed for a month or more. An 18 metre feeder replaces the need for 6-8 (depending on size) traditional self-feeders, making the Bretton Auto-feeder very price competitive even without time savings. “Other advantages include every animal gets the same feed mix as they are eating from one trough; it is filled from outside the pen; and minerals can be added when filling and will not block the feed trough.” MORE INFORMATION View a video of the Bretton Auto-feeder on YouTube. Scott Nicholson, 0438 086 403, email@example.com 52 ON FARM