Upper Lurg beef farmer to use scholarship to improve record keeping

By Rodney Woods

An Upper Lurg beef farmer will use a Victorian Government scholarship to invest in scanning technology to keep better records on her herd.

Bridget Doyle was one of 13 recipients of the Upskill and Invest Young Farmer Scholarships, which offer up to $10 000 — half for studies and half for on-farm investment.

“We’ve put together a proposal to buy scanning wands, so we can scan the cattle's tags and that goes into a system, and a set of weighing scales so that we can track how they are growing,” Ms Doyle said.

“It will be good because at the moment we have nothing in terms of monitoring our stock.

“When they come in the yards we just assess them when they're in there.

“Anything that we can assess out on the paddock, you forget if you don’t write it down or the tag number down and there’s a lot of back and forth and we are losing information that way.

“With the tag scanner everything goes into a program so you can track every single cow and track how they are performing.

“Note what bulls they’ve been with and what calves they are putting out and how successful they have been.”

Ms Doyle, who has a background in landscape architecture, said the scholarship had allowed her do something she would not have done otherwise.

“It’s a really good opportunity,” she said.

“I wouldn’t have done it (the study) if I hadn’t got this award.

“If I had the extra money it would obviously go into farm infrastructure or buying more cows, not going towards further study.

“The Certificate in Agriculture (at Wangaratta TAFE) has got a good mix of theory-based stuff and then sort of on-farm practices.”

Ms Doyle said planning was key to surviving the drought.

“We’ve cut a lot of hay and that gets us through pretty much as soon as the dry feed drops down through summer,” she said.

“It's not too bad this year as we haven’t had as much stock on.

“That’s another way we manage it — we just don’t run as many stock.

“Planning ahead is what you’ve got to do or you’ll get caught out.”