AUSTRALIA - Australian cattle farmers are now using a new tool to help the industry to be more efficient and to improve the welfare of livestock being transported.
Cattle often face the longest journeys in Australia - in northern Australia cattle travel an average of 1000 km, and up to 2500 km to get to abattoirs on the eastern coast.
The new tool, TRANSIT (Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool), finds ways to reduce travel distance and time, saving on running costs and minimising the stress to drivers and cattle.
“In developing this tool we completed the most comprehensive mapping of the cattle supply chain in Australia,” lead researcher at CSIRO, Dr Andrew Higgins, said.
“We can now use TRANSIT to identify key investments, large and small, at critical points in the supply chain, along with policy changes that might allow for better planning.”
In northern Australia, for example, the TRANSIT collects data on 12,000 properties (farms, sale points, feedlots, export yards, recreation stops, abattoirs, ports) and 15,000 road segments of different types.
The new technology is already being implemented by the Australian cattle industry, following 60,000 origin-to-destination movements for 20 million cattle transported in Australia per year.
In addition to the many benefits from optimised transport routes, TRANSIT also helps business, states and communities to evaluate the need for changes to local infrastructure and to choose new areas for development and employment.
Improving the safety and welfare of animals and drivers during long trips is of top-priority but, the use of TRANSIT is also leading to ecological benefits from reduced air pollution, creating better sustainability of agricultural business.
"Our hope is that this tool can make every long journey as short as it can be, and help to expand sustainable industry,” concluded Dr Higgins.