Case Study - Kelly and Tim Brittain

TSi Boosts Cattle Stud’s Recording Efficiency

Kelly and Tim Brittain raise Angus beef cattle in the Waikato  and they describe the TSi as 'a great investment'.  The TSi's brilliant simplicity helps them to monitor and manage their stock to match the requirements of an exacting market, saving them time while increasing accuracy and efficiency on and off farm.

Kelly Brittain: The TSi is reliable, accurate and
easy enough to be used by any staff member.

A TSi has made a massive difference to the efficiency of livestock weighing and recording on Storth Oaks Angus Stud.

Situated near Otorohanga in northern King Country, Storth Oaks is owned by Tim and Kelly Brittain. They've farmed the 384ha property since 1980 and established the stud in 1991. They currently run about 220 breeding cows.

Low birth-weight yearling bulls are sold to dairy farmers for heifer mating but the bulk of the stud’s customers are beef farmers looking for good Angus cattle that deliver higher profitability while 'meeting the eating quality demands of the most discerning customer'.

The popularity of the Angus breed has increased significantly since the launch of the AngusPure scheme and the Brittains are enjoying strong prices for their sale stock.

Kelly, who manages the stud, says rapid genetic progress has been achieved by buying in top quality Angus cows and making extensive use of artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

While eye appeal is still a selling point, Kelly says customers are increasingly interested in the 'facts and figures' that support an animal’s genetic merit.

For this reason Storth Oaks’ breeding programme focuses heavily on EBVs (Estimated Breeding Values).

The TSi is easy to use

A considerable amount of time is spent weighing and recording stock. The advent of electronic animal identification (EID) technology such as Gallagher’s TSi system has made this job far easier and more accurate.

The Brittains, who have a background in computing, bought their TSi system soon after the product was launched in 2008.

 Kelly says they wanted a system that was reliable, accurate and could be used by any staff member.

“Some computing systems are very complex and can really only be operated by users who are computer savvy, but the TSi is incredibly simple to use.”

The system makes weighing large groups of bulls quick and easy. Information on each bull, including its current and previous weight, pops up instantly on the TSi screen the moment the animal crosses the scales.

Take it anywhere

Kelly says the portability of the TSi’s console is another major feature. It is easily carried to any part of the farm and stored information can be quickly downloaded onto a home computer.             

Kelly Brittain quote: No more complex computing systems says Kelly. The TSiis incredibly simple to use.

The Brittains often use their TSi in conjunction with a Handheld Electronic Reader HR3 that enables tags to be read in the field. The TSi weigh scale indicator is also hooked up to a weighing cradle in a portable calf crate that is carried around on the back of a Kawasaki Mule.

The system is waterproof and its rugged construction ensures it can take the knocks associated with life on the stud.

 “It’s a very sturdy system and the touch screen is always easy to operate and read, even when you are out in the paddock on a sunny day.”

Lots of measurement options

All calves on Storth Oaks are weighed and electronically tagged at birth. Male calves are weighed every four weeks until sale. As well as weight data, the TSi system is also used to log details of animal health treatments and relevant breeding statistics, such as scrotal measurements.

Kelly says the accurate weight information collected by the TSi is useful for making management and animal health decisions. Low weight gain in a bull could suggest an animal health issue “...or it could mean that there is too much fighting going on in a mob and that we need to reduce our mob size.”

Reducing time and labour costs

Kelly says the TSi also saves labour and time out in the field.

“Tagging and weighing calves used to be a two-person job - one to hold and tag the calf and the other to record the information - but now that work can be easily done by one person.”

The TSi also eliminates the recording errors that could occur when using the old pencil and notebook system.

“Sometimes we’d get a number transposed, or even worse, the notebook would end up going through the wash.”

In summary, Kelly says the TSi system has made the crucial job of weighing and recording stock much easier and more precise.

“The TSi is a great investment. I wouldn’t be without it.”