AgriNous – New Technology To Solve New Challenges.
The introduction of Electronic Identification for sheep in Victoria was the trigger for the Horsham saleyards to work with AgriNous and the partnership is still flourishing 5-years and many legislative changes later.
The Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange is the hub for sheep and lamb selling in the Wimmera region and ranks as the fourth largest market in Victoria with annual throughput of around 500,000 head.
It is owned by the Horsham Rural City Council and is managed by Paul Christopher who has spent more than a decade in the role and has extensive experience in the livestock sector.
Mr Christopher said when Victorian authorities mandated EID in Victoria the centre, which had been operating with limited computer technology, was forced to upgrade its system; government funding at the time providing an additional incentive.
AgriNous was one of three software companies the council investigated.
It was AgriNous’s willingness to work with stock agents, which Mr Christopher said were integral to the smooth and efficient transaction of animals through a saleyard, which made it the stand-out company.
“We looked at three different systems and AgriNous was by far the best, particularly when it came to explaining the software to agents,’’ he said.
“AgriNous came out week after week to show agents on the ground how it all worked, so when it came to making the decision it was actually quite easy as all the agencies were already comfortable with it and keen to go ahead.’’
Horsham was one of the first major saleyards to partner with AgriNous in 2017, and Mr Christopher said there were teething problems as they tested the system in a full-scale working environment.
Rather than shy away from issues, he said the AgriNous team were always willing to listen and problem solve and after five-years of working with the company it was their professionalism around customer service that stood out.
“We did have some teething problems early on, but they were always available via phone or would send some-one out to work through it,’’ he said.
“They build good relationships with people using their software and their customer service is great, and that support is still evident today I must say‘’
Mr Christopher said the livestock sector was constantly evolving with more demands being placed on saleyards in the form of legislation, animal traceability and welfare, plus Occupational Health and Safety for staff.
He cited the recent Covid lockdowns as an example of how the efficiency and accuracy of AgriNous technology helped the centre keep operating in a safe manner.
“We have stopped pencilling the check-book as AgriNous is very accurate with all its data, and it meant one-less person on the selling rail during Covid,’’ he said.
Looking forward, Mr Christopher said he was excited about the work AgriNous was doing around electronic vendor declarations, with vendor decs remaining a paperwork headache for saleyards. On the day to day issues of running a market, he said being able to easily identify sheep that might jump from pen to pen or get mixed during delivery was a huge benefit.
“In the past if a sheep got mixed up you would have to catch it and read its tag and then go back to the agents to see who had sold it and then try and work out who had purchased it, which could be difficult if you had 1000 sheep in from one vendor and they had sold 10 different ways,’’ he said. “Now we just scan the tag and the AgriNous system can tell you straight away where the animal is meant to be.’’