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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
54 ON FARM Numnuts is a handheld device that includes an easy-to-use banding tool providing fast ring application, plus an operator-safe two-stage injection mechanism that ensures the correct dose of pain relief is dispensed to the right location. A trained operator can apply Numnuts in 2-3 seconds. Pain relief is the core reason to use Numnuts. The patented technology is scientifically proven to reduce tail docking and castration pain by up to 68%. “Numnuts aims to improve animal husbandry procedures and animal welfare outcomes,” said Numnuts director Robin Smith. “The system has been designed to utilise the traditional rubber ring, which is a bloodless and highly effective, farmer-friendly method for castration and tail docking lambs. Numnuts is very suitable for use on lambs held in the type of marking cradle commonly used in Australia. “Speed, ease of application and productivity all at a reasonably low cost have been the key factors when developing the product. It can be used by a producer or contractor in Australia without the need for a veterinarian to be present, although the local anaesthetic NumOcaineTM will require a vet’s prescription so farmers will require a relationship with their vet to access Numnuts next year.” Numnuts was born in 2009, when Scottish design engineering firm 4c Design and Moredun Research Institute in Scotland partnered together to investigate the feasibility of a device that would provide pain relief to livestock during tail docking and castration. Recognising the need for an on-farm solution for sheep, AWI and MLA provided initial funding for research and development (R&D) work. MLA has since invested additional funds to support commercialisation of the device. The R&D team was enhanced by the involvement of CSIRO at Armidale, which brought an Australian experience and perspective to the project. Lead researcher from CSIRO, Dr Alison Small said the results of their field trials at Armidale and on five commercial sheep properties – using more than 15,000 Merino and crossbred lambs during last year’s marking season – showed positive animal behaviour in response to using Numnuts. Numnuts® is a new device that enables sheep producers to castrate and tail-dock their lambs with rubber rings while also injecting a local anaesthetic at the same application – quickly, safely and effectively. The pilot launch of Numnuts® is expected for the 2019 lambing season. “‘Numnuts lambs’ were noticeably more relaxed than ‘Ring lambs’ when released from the cradle. For the next 20 to 30 minutes, when pain is most intense, the number of pain behaviours was reduced by up to 68% in Numnuts lambs in comparison to Ring lambs. Similar benefits were seen in male and female lambs. “At subsequent time points, the number of pain-related behaviours were low in all lambs, and differences between Numnuts and Ring lambs were less noticeable.” Numnuts will be available commercially in Australia for the 2019 marking season. However, in its first-year stocks will be limited to approximately 500. Producers, contractors and veterinarians interested in obtaining the Numnuts technology should register their interest at www.numnuts.co.uk Robin Smith said the Numnuts device would cost approximately $200 with each dose anticipated to cost about 65-70c in the early years, but the company is working hard to try to reduce the cost in subsequent years. WOOLGROWERS’ PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE OF NUMNUTS NUMNUTS NUMBS NUTS (AND TAILS)! Jodie and Andrew Green of ‘Aloeburn’ at Boree Creek, NSW, have been involved in trialling Numnuts and regard it as a practical and successful method of marking with pain relief. Numnuts is a new product for sheep producers to provide pain relief when lamb marking with rings.
In the Shops - March 2019