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Beyond the Bale : March 2013
27 ON-FARM fleece bin lines (which bin line the fleece off an animal has gone into each year), horn/ poll test results as well as any other data we might collect. "Another program that we use, which complements Stockbook, is Farmbook which is used for the more day-to-day management of the whole property and business. I can trace back the management history of each mob to see what treatments they have had and what paddocks they have grazed which then relates back to any issues that might arise with the animals or wool." OTHER TECHNOLOGIES Other technologies and innovations that Dan uses include on-farm fibre measurement, AI (artificial insemination) and ET (embryo transfer), modern shearing sheds and pasture improvement. "I have previously hired a contract Laserscan machine for fibre measurement, but have recently purchased one of our own -- I will probably continue to use a contractor for the next year or two as shearing is still a hectic time for me! But this is going to be invaluable for testing our rams when we want. "We use AI and ET programs extensively to increase and maximise genetic gain and development. "Our two shearing sheds -- one on each property -- are four-stand raised-board sheds with undercover handling yards. One was built in 2010 and the other in 2011. March 2013 BEYOND THE BALE Both are designed exactly the same which makes shifting sheds during shearing very easy. The shearers enjoy working in them -- which is a very high priority for me. "We also do a lot of pasture development and improvement work, trialling new varieties and using modern no-till practices. Last year I direct-drilled about 80 hectares of phalaris and ryegrass pastures between the two properties." YOUNG WORKFORCE Dan is extremely passionate about nurturing and developing the next generation by offering them various opportunities and experiences to motivate and encourage them. Avington implemented a Jackeroo program in January 2012, which is designed around the traditional Jackeroo system used for decades by Australia's pastoral industries. He currently has a young and Dan uses a livestock stick reader to read the sheep's electronic tag numbers which are then downloaded into Stockbook flock software. Dan attaches an iPad to a bracket on his quad bike: "Although I can't escape the office entirely, the new technology certainly makes a marked difference to how I operate."