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Creator of portable in-paddock weighing system wins MLA Producer Innovation Award

04 May 2021


Armidale producer, Bill Mitchell, with MLA Managing Director, Jason Strong, at last night's Rabobank Beef Industry Awards presented by Queensland Country Life, at Beef Australia 2021 in Rockhampton.

Armidale producer Bill Mitchell has won the 2021 Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Producer Innovation Award for his remote cattle weighing system, Optiweigh, that enables in-paddock weighing and monitoring.

Mr Mitchell was presented the award last night at the Rabobank Beef Industry Awards presented by Queensland Country Life, at Beef Australia 2021 in Rockhampton.

Optiweigh is a fully portable in-paddock weighing system that works in all environments, does not require animal training, and does not require installation of additional infrastructure.

MLA Managing Director, Jason Strong, said the MLA Producer Innovation Award recognises forward-thinking red meat producers whose achievements contribute to a resilient and progressive industry.

“The MLA Producer Innovation Award recognises producer-led excellence in accelerated adoption of innovations to improve on-farm performance, and result in new products or producer-led new ventures and start-ups,” Mr Strong said.

“Red meat producers are at the forefront of driving this innovation, on-farm and through the supply chain – and this award is an opportunity to recognise some of the best of our industry.

“Bill has not only developed a new innovation but has turned this into a new product and brand and established a start-up business in regional Australia to support this.”

Armidale Producer Bill Mitchell – who was joined at the Awards dinner by wife Jacqui - said he was looking for a system that could provide real-time data on the performance of their cattle by assessing weight gain, which was their inspiration to develop the Optiweigh system.

“Our operation is focused on meeting target weights for target markets, which is why assessing weight gain was so critical,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Having the unit in the paddock feeding data to us means we can assess our cattle every day, delivering up to $70 more per head going out the gate on every truckload because we are better meeting sale specifications and avoiding overweight penalties.

“The constant weight updates also help to monitor paddock condition so you can rotate your stock at the right times, rather than waiting until they’ve started going backwards.”

Optiweigh has now been successfully commercialised, with over 90 units deployed on beef farms across Australia.