CRC FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY INNOVATION

 

NEWS RELEASE

June 2018

ASKBILL delivers free early warning for flystrike and cold 

Merino producers across Australia are now forewarned and forearmed against the risk of flystrike and cold snaps, thanks to ASKBILL.

ASKBILL is web-based software which provides timely and accurate predictions of sheep wellbeing and productivity using weather, stock and pasture information to sheep producers across Australia.

It has been developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) with the support of WoolProducers Australia (WPA) to provide producers with timely and accurate predictions of sheep well-being and productivity using climate, stock and pasture information.

Among a suite of new features recently added to ASKBILL are freely accessible flystrike and cold maps which provide national five-day forecast maps detailing high-risk areas so that producers can take early action to protect their flocks.

Registered users of the full ASKBILL suite of tools also have access to long-range predictions of the risk of flystrike, out to six months in advance to optimise planning of chemical applications and management activities such as shearing and crutching.

Other new features that have been recently added to ASKBILL include:

  • Predictions for growth rates for lambs finished on grass, with or without supplementation
  • Predictions for greasy fleece weights up to six months out from shearing, and
  • Inclusion of genetic information through the ability to import ram team Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs), and Flock Profile data from RamSelect to better predict live weight and performance.

The new features were added following an extensive user trial of ASKBILL, with the feedback provided by sheep producers and advisers around Australia critical to a raft of improvements and additions which have now been made live on the system.

The most important change was the incorporation of short- and long-term weather forecasts to complement actual measurements and the long-term historic averages.

“The feedback provided to Sheep CRC development team by producers, farm advisers and WoolProducers through the pilot trial period, has been invaluable and has directly contributed to the new enhancements to ASKBILL’s performance,” Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said.

“The changes include fewer and better-targeted alerts, faster synchronising of predictions, and new features such as feed budget predictions out to six months to help producers plan stocking rates and supplementary feeding from joining through to lambing.

“These new features will enhance the usefulness of ASKBILL for sheep producers, improving their ability to minimise risk and maximise flock wellbeing and productivity.”

The latest version of ASKBILL has been made live to the producer testing group for final validation ahead of the full commercial launch later this year.

  • The cold and flystrike risk maps are available for all producers to use by visiting askbill.com.au.

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Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666.