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Date: 03/10/2017

Revamped design makes pasture management a walk in the paddock

Rising plate meters are not exactly new to many New Zealand dairy farmers. They are a valuable and widely adopted tool for calculating how much pasture is on your farm so you can plan your feed breaks and rotations effectively, and forecast your feed budget accurately.

What is new, however, is the Tru-Test range of rising plate meters, designed and developed in collaboration with Jenquip, one of New Zealand’s longest-standing rising plate meter manufacturers.

“As experts in weighing and EID technology and specialists in dairy stock performance, good pasture management is critical to stock growth. Adding a suite of pasture measurement tools to our stable of animal performance focused products and services, helps to round out our on-farm offering to our dairy farmers.”

Partnering for excellence

Tru-Test and Jenquip took a long hard look at the existing models and, in conjunction with farmer feedback, have released three new models designed to address the quirks and limitations of their predecessors. The new models make it even easier to measure, track and manage pasture growth and allocation.

Verne Atmore, Tru-Test’s New Zealand General Manager, says the partnership with Jenquip was an obvious one.

“As experts in weighing and Electronic Identification (EID) technology and specialists in dairy stock performance,we know good pasture management is critical to stock growth. Adding a suite of pasture measurement tools to our stable of animal performance focused products and services helps to round out our on-farm offering to our dairy farmers.”

Built to last, easy to use

The new models build on the ergonomic design, durability and accuracy that Tru-Test’s weighing and EID equipment is known for. The new design features a top display, so you can easily see what your pasture is as you walk across the paddock. Water proofing and calibration issues have been addressed too with manual calibration no longer required.

There is a better plate with a smaller lip so it doesn’t fill with water and dirt.The handle ergonomics have been improved for better comfort and to allow height locking and is now pot riveted to improve strength.

Tru-Test Plate Meter Range

To meet the wide range of needs and budgets, there are three models in the revamped range.

The base model (EC-09) provides an in-paddock visual you can input later into your preferred feed management programme or upload on the spot usinga device like your phone.

The mid-range Model (EC-10) captures your paddock data. It enables you to record your pasture walk using paddock numbers, with the ability to retain information for up to 100 paddocks. Data can then be transferred via USB into your preferred feed management programme.

Finally, the premium model (EC-20) allows you to name both farms and paddocks. You can set your paddock order as you want rather than having to set it in numerical order, removing the need to scroll through to find the paddocks that you want. The EC-20 comes complete with an Android app which automatically records all readings straight into your phone for on-the-spot review. You can then send the data straight off your phone to your preferred feed management programme or other relevant third party programmes.

Additionally, the EC-20 has built-incompatibility with Farm IQ and Agrinet, giving you a direct interface. Data can also be uploaded into MINDA via CSV file.

Colin McFazdean, Jenquip’s owner demonstrates the new Tru-Test Plate Meters.

Farmer Feedback

David Klaus of Klaus Farms in Otorohanga purchased two EC-09s at Fieldays and was using them when contacted for feedback. He is impressed with the user-friendly changes. “The fact that you can now see the numbers as you plate makes a huge difference. I have a programme on my phone I just enter the data into so this model works well for me. I’m also finding it’s easier to keep the stem clean and it’s sturdier and hardier than my old one.”

As with other on-farm measurement and tracking technologies, the return on your investment comes quickly through improved accuracy and access to decision-making information – enough to relegate the trusty old eye-o-meter to a supporting role.