Farm Tender

Livestock discrepancies now a thing of the past

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Opinion
  • Nov 30, 2020
  • 286 views
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By Agriwebb

Operation type - Cattle

Area 1,000,000 HA

Stock 60,000 Cattle

Average rainfall 500 mm

Gunn Agri Partners is the manager of the Gunn Agri Cattle Fund, which comprises a portfolio of Australian cattle production enterprises, including Cunningham Cattle Company. With stations spread across Queensland, from the gulf country in the north down to the New South Wales border, the Fund controls over 1 million hectares of grazing land, and 6,600 hectares of cropping land, with more than 60,000 head of cattle.

Since its launch in 2015, the Fund has outperformed expected benchmarks. Investment in water and fencing infrastructure has seen better pasture utilisation, and weaning rates have risen from 50 to 65 per cent. Cunningham Cattle Company uses AgriWebb for their livestock management platform. It has streamlined record keeping and reporting significantly, leading to company-wide benefits.

On-the-ground insights for the General Manager

Ray Thieme is the General Manager of Cunningham Cattle Company. He oversees operations on properties including Esmeralda Station and Abingdon Downs in Queensland’s gulf country, the Maranoa aggregation in Central Queensland through to Goodar, in the Goondiwindi border region. Approximately 10,000 head are also run on agistment properties in the Northern and Southern Queensland regions.

“I can view all the movements basically as they happen, and generate reports in terms of numbers, classes and weights.” Ray Thieme - General Manager, Cunningham Cattle Company

From his Toowoomba office, Ray only needs to look at his mobile to have a good sense of what is happening on the ground, and to plan accordingly. “The biggest thing about AgriWebb is that it’s an easy mobile format. I can view all the movements basically as they happen, and generate reports in terms of numbers, classes and weights.”

“At the moment, we’re approaching a sale program of some females that we took to southern agistment. I can get a good understanding of where the weights sit and forecast turn off around that,” he says. “The data becomes reporting, the reporting becomes forecasting, and the forecasting becomes timing; the critical point where the revenue comes in. At Cunningham we are continually striving to improve efficiencies and productivity gains, and Agriwebb is part of that strategy.”

When Ray does visit a property, whether it’s 400,000-hectare Esmeralda Station or the 18,000-hectare Goodar Station, he knows exactly what he’s looking at, thanks to AgriWebb’s interactive map.

“You can drive into a mob of cattle and understand what group they are, what weights they are, and what their history is – that’s what I think is one of those wow-type practical functions”

AgriWebb puts everyone on the same page, facilitating clear communication that Ray feels is critical for reaching their company goals. He can also be more confident with a management decision, knowing workers on the farm have recorded operations through AgriWebb. “It’s like having the live carbon copies because everyone has the same data,” he says. “AgriWebb has become our one source of truth.”

Livestock discrepancies now a thing of the past

AgriWebb has really sped up the process for me. I can do ‘month-end’ in about 25 minutes for each property now, whereas before it would have taken two or three days per property. Taniesha Southeron - Livestock Analyst, Gunn Agri

AgriWebb has brought substantial efficiency gains to the office administration. Taniesha Southeron, Gunn Agri’s Livestock Analyst, is no longer spending time chasing up farm managers for livestock numbers or bogged down with data entry for month-end reports.

“AgriWebb has really sped up the process for me. I can do ‘month-end’ in about 25 minutes for each property now, whereas before it would have taken two or three days per property.”

The month-end reports go to Gunn Agri’s financial team, while investors also receive a report. “Having that information in real time, within five days of the end of the month, with the classes and the weights that contribute to the value of those animals is all very important,” Taniesha says.

In the past, there might be discrepancies between a manager’s numbers and the office, but that’s no longer an issue for Taniesha: “The manager’s numbers are exactly the same as what we have, because we all look at the one app and it’s been great.”

The software has also made audits easier. “We’ve started using it for feeding records and animal treatment records now. It has been really good to help with the LPA accreditation and with Global G.A.P. accreditation,” Taniesha says.

Gunn Agri requested personalised training from AgriWebb to ensure a smooth adoption of the technology by the team. Taniesha says, “Someone who used it for years or helped develop it, they’re always going to know all the little tips and tricks and explain things better. The initial training was invaluable.”

Offering assurance for investors

Daniel Hough, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Gunn Agri, has found AgriWebb to be a powerful platform when it comes to reporting to investors.

“For us, tech is not only about improving performance or productivity, it’s also about improving controls,” he says. “When you have investors on the other side of the planet, we are effectively stewards of their capital, and we need to have assurance around stock control.”

Gunn Agri needed timely numbers and stock control on a per paddock basis. That posed a challenge, with two properties in the gulf country at more than a million acres, with north of 20 thousand cattle on them.

The systems in place when Gunn Agri took over some of the properties were pretty rudimentary. Managers emailed photos of handwritten stock numbers to offices, where they were transferred into spreadsheets.

“We recognised that wasn’t a secure process,” Daniel says. “If it’s being done manually, or even in Excel, it’s pretty clunky and there’s a lot of human touch involved.” Daniel recognised that every touchpoint put the accuracy of farm data at risk. AgriWebb offered the solution – one that works offline on remote properties, where mobile connectivity is an issue.

“You need a handheld device that will bounce data up to be captured and updated whenever the phone or iPad is online,” Daniel says. “With AgriWebb, you go from crush-side to the homestead. The homestead has an antenna and the data pings up, and it’s sitting on my Agriwebb platform. There’s no vulnerability of that data being overwritten in that period.”

The more secure the record keeping, the more streamlined the reporting. “The end of month, since we’ve used AgriWebb, has certainly been a much more streamlined, tighter-controlled mechanism than the system we were using before. That was ultimately the main driver for us using AgriWebb.” 

AgriWebb has brought substantial efficiency gains to the office administration. Taniesha Southeron, Gunn Agri’s Livestock Analyst, is no longer spending time chasing up farm managers for livestock numbers or bogged down with data entry for month-end reports.

“AgriWebb has really sped up the process for me. I can do ‘month-end’ in about 25 minutes for each property now, whereas before it would have taken two or three days per property.”

The month-end reports go to Gunn Agri’s financial team, while investors also receive a report. “Having that information in real time, within five days of the end of the month, with the classes and the weights that contribute to the value of those animals is all very important,” Taniesha says.

In the past, there might be discrepancies between a manager’s numbers and the office, but that’s no longer an issue for Taniesha: “The manager’s numbers are exactly the same as what we have, because we all look at the one app and it’s been great.”

The software has also made audits easier. “We’ve started using it for feeding records and animal treatment records now. It has been really good to help with the LPA accreditation and with Global G.A.P. accreditation,” Taniesha says.

Gunn Agri requested personalised training from AgriWebb to ensure a smooth adoption of the technology by the team. Taniesha says, “Someone who used it for years or helped develop it, they’re always going to know all the little tips and tricks and explain things better. The initial training was invaluable.”

https://www.agriwebb.com/au/