Breeders get ahead with smartphone tech

Kate PollardThe West Australian

Stud breeders Justin and Lorroi Kirby from Amarula Dorpers, 50km east of Moree in New South Wales, pride themselves on being early adopters of new technology.

With three small children and commitments to judge across the country, they know technology can help save time, money and help promote their stud's genetics.

Justin and Lorroi use short video clips of all sale rams on their website along with professional photographs so interested buyers can see what is on offer.

The latest tool to be used in their marketing efforts is Quick Response codes, or QR codes.

Open any magazine or newspaper and they can be seen in nearly every advertisement.

QR codes are black and white barcode images, and when scanned by a smart phone, take the user to the advertiser's website or product they are promoting.

In the case of Amarula Dorpers, they have been used in pre-sale advertisements. When users scan the code, they are taken to a pre-sale video and can then see the stud's sales catalogue.

The technology was first used almost 20 years ago by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave to track parts during manufacturing. QR codes are now being used in commercial tracking, entertainment and by many as a marketing tool.

High schools in the Eastern States are using it, and in WA, universities are using QR codes to take potential students to their course catalogue.

Australian Wool Innovation is using QR codes and the opportunities for agriculture are vast.

According to Wikipedia, during the month of June 2011, a US study found 14 million mobile users scanned a QR code - more than half at home, 39 per cent from retail stores and just over half were men between 18 and 34 years of age.

For Justin and Lorroi, using QR codes in their advertising adds no extra cost to them and very little cost to the user.

The most important component is it can take users to their website to see their Amarula Dorper genetics and in turn can become potential clients. "Most of our marketing up to this point has been web-based so this was the perfect opportunity to take people straight to the site," Justin said.

The trained embryologist and his veterinarian wife don't just want clients to want to buy Amarula Dorpers - they want them to have to buy Amarula Dorpers.

"The feedback we are getting from new clients is that Amarula has all the cool stuff," Justin said.

Dorpers have been commercially available in Australia for 15 years and Amarula has been operating for 12 years.

"At first it was a struggle competing with lots of studs but we have now got ourselves to the point where we are one of the leading studs in the country," Justin said.

In the past four years, Justin said as the stud has increased ram numbers, their sale average has also increased from $900 to $2500.

"Getting to the top is quick and easy but staying at the top is the very tricky part, so we don't rest on our laurels," he said.

"We try to breed better sheep and cheaper sheep for our client base and we try to keep a bit on the edge - like with QR scans."

How to use QR Codes *

·Connect to your app store

·Search QR code

·Select a free one to download such as QR Reader

·Scan the QR code

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