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Mike Tate and Aimee Charteris have created Smart Shepherd which sells collars to help accurately identify lambs raised by each ewe and will also determine the strength of the mother-lamb bond. The technology has been found to be 98 percent accurate and replaces time-consuming visual matching or expensive DNA identification. 300 collars can be applied in an hour and match more than 1,000 lambs a day with their mothers. Smart Shepherd will lease farmers the collars as the need for them is during a short period in the season. Mr Tate and Mrs Charteris are now developing a proof for the technology to be used for commercial sheep farmers on a larger scale and have the support of a $40,000 grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures Fund. Mr Tate can see the potential for data to be harvested on large commercial flocks being the foundation for developing a commercial ewe production index. Mr Tate reported NZ has struggled to get lambing percentages above 150% in recent years and access to Smart Shepherd data will be the next push for flock productivity gains.
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