AgriFutures Australia investments are aligned to the Buffalo program RD&E plan. This Open Call welcomes Preliminary Research Proposals, including post-graduate scholarships, that address Priority 2: Free-range field processing equipment as outlined in the Strategic RD&E Plan.
Priority 2: looks to address free-range field processing equipment for harvest of buffalo in remote areas of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory (NT). Buffalo in Arnhem Land and surrounding areas are essentially wild. They are either mustered by helicopter into temporary yards or are caught with mechanical arms on the side of specially modified catching vehicles.
Biosecurity regulations require livestock to be fitted with NLIS tags before leaving their property of origin, as identified with a Property Identification Code (PIC). This policy also applies to freshly caught free-range buffalo in remote parts of Arnhem Land where there are no permanent yards and few fences. Tagging buffalo, and often trimming horns at the same time, in temporary facilities where the animal is not held securely is dangerous for the musterers and stressful for the buffalo.
The main buffalo mustering period in remote areas of the NT tropics is the mid to late dry season (June to October).
The objectives of this Open Call:
- To develop an engineering solution, build a prototype, and devise a pathway to adoption across the NT buffalo industry for equipment that will allow newly harvested free-range buffalo to be safely ear-tagged and dehorned in the field without a permanent yard, and with emphasis on welfare of the animals and safety of the operators.
- Equipment design requirements include that:
- Buffalo can be tagged (NLIS) at the point of muster and, thus, satisfy biosecurity movement regulations.
- Buffalo horns will be cut to the required length before trucking, thus reducing the chance of causing damage to other animals while being transported.
- Poor animal welfare and poor worker safety will be minimised.
- To deliver engineered specifications for such equipment.