Scone Yard at Forefront With NLIS

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Maintaining its position as a leading saleyard was the only incentive the Upper Hunter Shire Council needed to make an early move on providing full traceability for cattle under the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).  Now, with three months to go before implementation date, Council is ready to play its part - with plenty of time to iron out technicalities.

The key to its success has been open communication with an active saleyard committee comprising agents, vendors and buyers, representatives of Council, and the community.

Council's Manager of Technical Support, Coleen Pinkerton, said cooperation and a long lead time had allowed the committee to fully explore its options. "Last year our saleyards committee inspected several saleyards and different systems in Victoria to see which system would be best for us," Ms. Pinkerton said. "Our biggest decision was where to put the Aleis multi-read scanner - before or after the ring.

"We finally decided on after-ring placement and that appears to be a good decision. We have been using it for EU scanning,  and the flow of cattle from the ring through the scanner has been very smooth."

Scone is the tenth largest cattle saleyard in the state with an average annual throughout of 82,000 head, and well supported by many domestic and export abattoirs.

With some concern that the multi-read scanner would slow the system down and bruise cattle, Council trialed a mocked-up version of the proposed system to allay any fears. Saleyard Supervisor Steve Kemp said since the Aleis system had been installed there had been no reports of bruising from buyers or the abattoirs, and the sales had not slowed.

"We have averaged 85 lots an hour during the last 12 months, and when we put the scanner in, that figure didn't decrease at all.  In fact there was one sale where we got up to 90 lots an hour," Mr Kemp said.  While his initial reaction to NLIS was "here's another imposition on us," Mr Kemp was keen to make it happen once he had time to digest what was involved.

"We don't anticipate a problem with NLIS in this saleyard from an operational point of view. Cattle leave the sale ring and go through the exit scanner and the information is downloaded onto the system at the end of the sale. My only concern is how the database will cope with the influx of information coming through on July 1, but we have plenty of time to test this."

Agents hope to pre-scan cattle the night before allowing the vendor time to overcome any problems. Panel scanners will be installed near the loading ramps in preparation for scanning in and out of the saleyards.

Council received a 5.0 per cent grant for the installation of NLIS from the State Government and expects to recoup its share (336,000) within three years.

Jandowae Firm Pioneers Laneway Sheep Scanning

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

 Sheep can now be identified electronically, thanks to a major breakthrough in laneway scanning developed by Jandowae-based company Aleis.

The lane way scanning has successfully identified electronic National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) ear tags in sheep.

Describing the trial as a resounding success, Aleis CFO John Finlayson, Jnr. said the Australian sheep industry needed an effective sheep identification and tracking system to enable serious disease outbreaks to be quickly contained.

"Interest in the use of electronic technology is increasing, particularly on large wool growing properties and within sheep meat supply chains," Mr. Finlayson said. "The Victorian Government is now actively promoting the voluntary use of electronic NLIS (sheep) tags as an alternative to the current sheep tracking system, which is based on paper records and visually readable tap.

"The sheep industry has insisted that electronic technology must facilitate the reading of sheep running three or four abreast along a lane way.  Aleis has developed and successfully demonstrated a reader that will achieve this level of performance with 100% reading accuracy," Mr Finlayson said.

"Representatives from the sheep industry,  Meat and Livestock Australia , and Queensland DPI & F were invited to a demonstration of the Akio reader at Kiticorra on November 21 at which the Aleis lane way reader read more than 8OO sheep that had been identified with electronic NLIS sheep tags without missing a sheep."

Mr. Finlayson said the Aleis laneway reader was designed for use in very high throughput situations, such as in a saleyard or feedlot.  Aleis had unequivocally demonstrated that the reader would efficiently and accurately read sheep identified with NLIS (sheep) tags at commercial speeds.  Aleis also had a range of reliable wand and panel readers suitable for use in other less demanding situations.

"The sheep industry can now move forward with confidence with the use of electronics NLIS (sheep) ear tags containing internationally recognised half duplex technology," Mr. Finlayson said.

"This is the technology platform adopted by Australia's NLIS (cattle) system  and now being utilised in the recently accredited electronic NLIS (sheep) tag being supplied nationally by Allflex."

Aleis International is developing a close working relationship with the sheep industry, along with government agencies, to provide electronic ear tag reading equipment for on-farm, saleyard, feedlot, live export, and processing applications.

Jandowae Company Reaches Worldwide

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 Jandowae is the new home for an Australian company which markets its product around the world.

Aleis Pty Ltd provided an electronic product which could help producers monitor the performance of individual animals during their entire production cycle. Wambo Council Mayor Cr Mick Cosgrove said they were thrilled to have an industry in Jandowae with such relevance to Queensland and Australia alike.

"It is a marvellous boost for the town to have industry coming into it like this - it was what we have dreamed of getting," Cr Cosgrove said.

Aleis Pty Ltd Director, John Finlayson, said the company could gain many things from operating in a place like Jandowae. "We wanted to set-up our own buildings to manufacture our product and wanted to be in the area where we market our product," Mr. Finlayson said.

"People are keen and there has been a lot of co-operation with the Wambo Shire Council as opposed to the cities where they put obstacles in the road," Mr Finlayson said.  The factory was being built, then two offices, and perhaps a third building which, in total, could employ as many as 25 people at the company. The situation in the long term makes it more competitive and then there is the general atmosphere in the country town where people are that much more friendly and work better," he said.

Wambo Shire Council chief executive officer Cohn O'Connor said the company's importance would only grow with the introduction of the National Livestock Identification scheme. "Other industries will sit up and take notice," Mr O'Connor said. "It is a well established business which says to the world we can operate from a country town.  It says to other companies that there is no reason why a company cannot operate efficiently from Jandowae," he said.

Wambo Shire Councillor Tom Bradley said council's aim was to make it as easy as possible for the company to move to Jandowae and said there would be significant economic benefits as a result.

Race Reader Keeps Cattle Moving

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The ability to identify slaughter animals with potential disease or residue issues on arrival at the processing plant  - rather than later in the process when they can cause greater disruptions to plant operations - is the key to a new animal ID technology demonstration pilot site.

Demonstrated to industry stakeholders in Brisbane recently was a high-flow dual race lairage reader installed at Australian Country Choice's (ACC) Cannon Hill meatworks. ACC is a large domestic export processor responsible for two thirds of Coles Supermarkets' national beef requirements, as well as exporting into a range of customer countries in Asia and elsewhere.


Developed as an industry demonstration site, the lairage reader installation represented a collaborative effort involving ACC, animal ID technology companyALEIS, and Meat & Livestock Australia.  Currently, many abattoirs read National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices on animals at point of slaughter or further down the killfloor chain. Occasionally, a body presents without a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag or being identified through the NLIS database as being sourced from a property with a disease or residue risk status. When the animal is detected, action is required by the abattoir to guarantee the relevant testing, isolation, inspection, and if necessary, destruction of the animal.

In a worst case scenario, such as processing stock for the EU market, can mean stopping the kill and carrying out a thorough clean-down of the environment before operations can recommence.  However, by reading stock as they arrive off the road transport vehicle, intervention can occur much earlier in managing those stock through the system.

Single-lane race readers are already used at some abattoirs to read cattle at the point of unloading, but these have several significant drawbacks.  Australian Meat Industry Council livestock committee chairman, Geoff Teys, said in the case of his own company's Beenleigh plant in southern Queensland, the reading areas at arrival are single-file, single-lane only which greatly slows down the unloading process and requires up to three staff members to operate. For these reasons, the Beenleigh installation is used for EU-accredited cattle only.

However the high-flow dual race reader demonstrated at ACC overcomes many of these limitations.  "Particularly for those abattoirs which read tags further down the slaughter chain, this system has significant advantages," Mr Teys said.

The ACC installation relies on a bank of 16 panel readers and antennae to simultaneously read two lanes — each carrying up to three — of a typical double-deck livestock transport consignment. The design eliminates bottlenecks or unloading disruptions or risk of additional bruising as the area is basically unchanged from ACC's pre-existing receival area layout.  The ultimate design involved livestock, engineering and RFID technology teams working side-by-side to achieve the right outcome.

The project's aim was to achieve 99.54% accuracy in reading RFID devices in cattle arrivals, and this is being regularly surpassed with most killing days in the range from 99.139% to 100%. The only 'non-reads' to date have been found to be due not to the lairage reader's performance, but from animals not carrying a tag or those with faulty tags.

John Finlayson, Manager of ID technology developer ALEIS, said the installation at ACC was challenging in a number of ways.

The basic aim was to achieve high rates of RFID device reading accuracy while delivering no disruptions to normal double-deck unloading operations. He said by their nature, abattoirs were difficult environments for RFID tag reading applications because of extensive radio frequency interference caused by nearby electric motors. This required close analysis of the surrounding site at ACC in order to identify problem areas and isolate or insulate 'noisy' motors.

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