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Feasibility of Induction Automation R&D - Phase 1

Project start date: 01 July 2018
Project end date: 05 February 2019
Publication date: 15 February 2019
Project status: In progress
Livestock species: Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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A review of opportunities for feedlot induction automation technologies completed in 2017 identified that induction automation had a positive value proposition. Subsequently, a framework whereby induction automation R&D could be undertaken and demonstrated was proposed via the establishment of a dedicated induction facility with collaboration from industry partners.

This project investigated the feasibility for induction automation R&D by identifying an industry partnership and priority research areas achieved via meetings with feedlot operators, software providers and equipment manufacturers.

A ranked list of R&D priorities for induction automation was workshopped with representation from large feedlots and equipment manufacturers. The top three priorities were identified as: immobilising animals, semi-automation of application of veterinary chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and endpoint and health management (walk over weighing). Within immobilising animals, the top two potential products for R&D were head restraint, and full body restraint. Automation and sensing incoporated into mechanical design has potential to deliver calm and restrained animals at induction that caters for variable characteristics, size and behaviour of each animal, with potential cost justification through savings in operator and animal safety, and raising the accuracy to which measurements and therapy can be applied.

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Primary researcher: University of Southern Queensland