YOUNG Mid North sheep farmers are benefiting from an innovative new program driving technology adoption on-farm.
Run by the Mid North Young Guns, the Shepno program awarded five scholarships to sheep farmers to trial and demonstrate innovative on-farm technology.
The initiative has resulted in farmers attending workshops to explore new technologies in the sheep industry, such as remote monitoring, GPS and precision agriculture.
A second workshop, which looked into barriers to adopting new technology, was held at Mintaro last month and featured AgriPartner’s Hamish Dickson and Rural Directions’ Patrick Redden.
Spalding sheep farmer and Shepno scholar Nat Sommerville said the workshop was fascinating.
“Hamish gave us great advice on getting other family members on-board with new projects, which I found really useful for our business,” she said.
“He told us we should have a clear objective in mind of what we want to achieve, and that when someone might need a bit of extra convincing to try something new, agreeing to a trial period with an evaluation can really help get them on-board.
“Patrick provided us with a few different budgets to use in planning projects, including a Making More from Sheep partial budget template that will be really valuable.”
Ms Sommerville is using her scholarship funds to investigate the benefits of electric fencing in her sheep enterprise.
“I started the project just considering improved pastures, but as I started investigating the options I realised if I chose the right kind of system, I could buy something that I could also use on my hilly country,” she said.
“At the moment I’m looking into the best layouts to try the electric fencing on my native pastures.”
The format of the Shepno initiative has been guided by MNYG industry research.
The team surveyed 40 young Mid North farmers, and found that although a wide range of technologies were being used on-farm, there were barriers to adoption which explained why some key technologies had not been widely taken up.