Technology King at Sundown

03 November 2017

The sky is the limit for the ways in which technology can give beef producers an edge - this was the key takeaway message for SMARTBEEF delegates who attended a tour of Sundown Pastoral Company today.

The Sundown aggregation, located in the New England area, has embraced cutting edge technologies and developed a sophisticated high performance pasture program designed to maximise cattle productivity.

Visitors saw how the company uses computer based assessment tools such real time telemetry to constantly monitor pasture growth and quality, and thereby maximise pasture utilisation. Employees use drones on a daily basis to check infrastructure and cattle, and once a week even use ‘Pastures from Space’ satellite imagery and a helicopter to assess pasture growth.

ALFA President Tess Herbert said, “The Sundown tour provided delegates with practical demonstrations of some of the key learnings from the previous day and cemented the SMARTBEEF theme.”

“ALFA is extremely appreciative of the opportunity provided by Sundown Pastoral Company for delegates to see cutting edge technology and practices in operation,” said Ms Herbert

“The Sundown operation is testament to how the adoption of technology and data analysis can help management make smart and profitable business decisions,” said Ms Herbert.

Manager Matthew Monk outlined for delegates the effort that is put into soil and pasture testing to ensure that fertilisation occurs as and when required. Significant pasture improvement has also been undertaken to boost productivity and fill feed gaps, building organic matter and soil nutrient levels. Pastures are sown strategically with a view to ease of stock rotations and animal management.

Sundown is also trialling new and emerging technologies, seeing this as the future of the industry. Training cattle to walk over weighing bars as they rotate between paddocks is already in operation and trials are underway to monitor the grazing patterns and intake of individual animals. These tools are designed to fine tune animal weight gain and feed utilisation.

“Delegates also enjoyed a Wagyu beef burger lunch in the stunning grounds of Sundown Homestead, a delightful way to wrap up SMARTBEEF 2017,” said Ms Herbert.