Biggest Undercover Livestock Facility In Southern Hemisphere Chooses AgriNous

TANGIBLE cost savings and workflow improvements are already being reported at Muchea in Western Australia which is the latest big saleyard facility to partner with AgriNous technology.

The Muchea Livestock Exchange (MLE) is the biggest under-cover livestock facility in the southern hemisphere, operated by the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA) as part of the Government of West Australia.

It holds weekly prime cattle and lamb and sheep sales, as well as being an AQIS approved live shipping depot and offering services such as private weighing and drafting of stock.

In the past month managers of MLA have been running the AgriNous platform alongside their old data and management system as they prepare for a complete upgrade this month.

Improvements in business performance are already evident.

Sidney Pinto, Chief Financial Officer, said management was confident substantial staff cost savings would be achieved through the better work methods and data accuracy offered by AgriNous.

“The biggest potential going forward is the prevention and detection of errors at a much earlier part of the process, such as when cattle are being weighed, which could save everybody a lot of time.’’

Sidney Pinto, Chief Financial Officer

The facility employs 35 permanent and casual employees and Liam Birkin is the team leader, responsible for over-seeing all the processes for stock that move through the facility.

He said they had been battling against ageing technology.

“The system we were using got very dated and was very inefficient in handling the many processes we have and trying to get software fixed or updated was difficult,’’ Mr Birkin said: “The system was basically at the end of its life and that presented us with the chance to look at new options.’’

A Unique Site Needing A Flexible Approach

Mr Birkin said the site had been designed for cattle to be singularly weighed, with three individual weigh stations the easiest to access in the yards. There is also a platform scale.

It was partly built this way to cater to the varied classes of stock that are presented at Muchea each
week – from pastoral cattle through to high quality European sired stock bred and finished in cropping areas.

“We do get a large variety of cattle that are often drafted numerous ways, and we often end-up with
six or seven different animals (from different vendors) in a sale pen and single weighing suits,’’ Mr Birkin said. However, this did raise issues when they looked at technology providers.

“Being single weigh seemed to limit our options with a lot of potential software, and AgriNous was the most willing to design and provide the technology to accommodate our current processes,’’ he said.

“They were certainly the most confident that they could meet our needs, and they have stood-up to what they said they could do.’’

Mr Birkin

So Easy You Can Do It Yourself

The traditional paper-trail was the frame-work of the livestock transaction process at MLE, with hand-written cards used to document the arrival, drafting, pen movements, and delivery of animals.

Mr Birkin said this often caused the most grief, as changes would not be fully documented, or handwriting couldn’t be deciphered, leading to errors and confusion that then took time to sort out.

“Sometimes if an animal was moved from one pen to another, it would require some-one to go through a stack of 50 or 100 cards to find the right paperwork – it was a manual process that was wide open to errors,’’ he said.

The AgriNous platform has already simplified this, with changes and updates to stock movements easily recorded on hand-held devices, with the information instantly uploaded. And as the AgriNous program has been designed to follow standard and common-sense practices in saleyards, staff had found it easy to use despite little training.

“We haven’t done much formal training yet, but it hasn’t been an issue as the software is quite intuitive and user friendly,’’ Mr Birkin said.

“Most of the staff have taught each other as they have used it and it has all happened rather quickly – AgriNous have done a very good job of making it simple to use.’’

Mr Birkin

An aspect he particularly liked about the technology was any errors that came up when data was being input were easy to understand and therefore solve.

“The program handles errors quite well and the screens are quite visual and easy to follow. With the old system you would get technical errors and staff would panic and end up calling me.

“Now they get simple messages in English telling them what has happened and how to fix it.’’

Off-Site Access to Data

Running a multi-faceted business with constant stock movements meant there was regular calls for reports and information from buyers, live exporters, agents and vendors.

“The biggest benefit of all from this technology is being able to access data off-site, from anywhere in the world basically,’’ he said.

“We always have numerous calls and emails from users wanting reports or to check purchases and sales, and it could soak-up hours of time. This software will really streamline the whole process of providing people with information.’’

In the future he can see AgriNous becoming a central platform for industry, allowing buyers and vendors to compile their own reports as needed.

“What Agrinous is doing is not just a site specific thing – it is a platform across industry that they are building and the bigger it gets the better it will be for everyone as a centralised point for data”.

Mr Birkin
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Muchea Livestock Exchange
2 June 2021