Sheep question? ASKBILL.

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ASKBILL has been spruiked for its potential to help sheep producers.
Camera IconASKBILL has been spruiked for its potential to help sheep producers. Credit: Bob Garnant

The “powerful predictive technology” of the Sheep CRC’s ASKBILL app is now ready for sheep producers to use after its commercial launch at LambEx 2018.

The online tool, available at askbill.com.au, provides timely and accurate predictions for sheep wellbeing and productivity using climate, stock and pasture information.

Speaking at the launch of ASKBILL at the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation breakfast seminar, chief executive James Rowe said extensive testing in real-world conditions had led to the creation of a tool which would put Australian sheep producers on the front foot.

He said it would help them prepare for the inherent variability of climatic conditions and their impact on sheep production.

“ASKBILL is unlike any other technology currently available,” he said.

“It links individual farm records with predictive modelling and big data analytics to spot risks and alert producers to opportunities to improve sheep production and wellbeing, up to six months ahead of events to help plan joining, lambing, weaning and sale decisions.

“Predicting the state of pastures and livestock six months into the future is difficult even for experienced producers, but the Sheep CRC has now made this not only possible, but delivered a practical tool to help producers to develop and act on these insights.”

Professor Rowe said the app complemented grazing knowledge with detailed analysis of livestock and pasture conditions to predict opportunities and threats to individual businesses from weather, pests or disease — the critical information needed for making more precise farming decisions, protecting flock wellbeing and maximising productivity.

WA sheep breeder Brad Wooldridge, of Arthur River, spoke at the launch about his experiences in using ASKBILL during the Sheep CRC’s trial work and said it was like having a “sheep expert in the paddock with you every day”.

Mr Wooldridge runs 2200 ewes across two properties in the southern WA located 220km apart, with the second property carrying a high-risk of Barbers Pole worm.

“Our property on the South Coast is the one that stresses me most. I’ve been travelling 1500km a week to feed sheep there, which is a lot of driving, but it’s been a decision backed by the alerts from ASKBILL and it’s pleasing to achieve good results in a challenging season,” Mr Wooldridge said.

“The sophistication of the modelling is what sets ASKBILL apart from other tools and its predictions mean you can plan ahead – if you’re not planning, you’re reacting and from a management perspective that’s a whole lot harder.”

Prof. Rowe said producers could also combine ASKBILL with the Sheep CRC’s RamSelect system and DNA test range, meaning they would only need to enter data once in one application to access benefits from all platforms.

ASKBILL costs $110 a year.

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