Tru-Test vs Gallagher (recording sheep)

gellis888

Member
Livestock Farmer
I know eid has been talked about in previous posts but I’m ‘weighing up’ which brand to go with.

I would like to, going forward, record my sheep flock and make better breeding decisions. I’ve tried to find direct comparisons or differences but not had much luck. All the commercial sheep breeders I’ve seen in the UK and NZ use Tru-Test. But why? Is it market share or do you get more for your money?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Trutest only make the weighing equipment, software makes sense of the numbers produced and allows recording of that data.
Most software has been developed to work with TruTest, probably only because there was more of that equipment about, earlier.

As long as whatever recording software you choose can receive data from the weighing hardware (or by manual input), I don’t suppose there’s a lot of difference.

If it were an option, I would probably choose anything but TruTest, purely on the basis that they take cheap components and put them into an extortionately priced piece of equipment.
I’m told the weigh cells they fit in their £1000 load bars cost a little over £20 each!
 

gellis888

Member
Livestock Farmer
Trutest only make the weighing equipment, software makes sense of the numbers produced and allows recording of that data.
Most software has been developed to work with TruTest, probably only because there was more of that equipment about, earlier.

As long as whatever recording software you choose can receive data from the weighing hardware (or by manual input), I don’t suppose there’s a lot of difference.

If it were an option, I would probably choose anything but TruTest, purely on the basis that they take cheap components and put them into an extortionately priced piece of equipment.
I’m told the weigh cells they fit in their £1000 load bars cost a little over £20 each!
Thanks @neilo, appreciate the honest reply! If you don't mind me being nosey and asking, what eid/recording set up do you use?

I noticed you run Highlanders which I also have. What was your reason for moving to a Texel X Highlander and then going back to a more Highlander based ewe?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Thanks @neilo, appreciate the honest reply! If you don't mind me being nosey and asking, what eid/recording set up do you use?

I noticed you run Highlanders which I also have. What was your reason for moving to a Texel X Highlander and then going back to a more Highlander based ewe?

I have been using Shearwell Farmworks software on a PC and a Psion handheld (& EID reader) since 2010. Little to choose between that program and Border Software’s FarmIT imo.
My weigh head is a TruTest, which sends weights to the Psion by Bluetooth.

I like the Highlander, which does everything I want it to do, but not a fan of the corporate/‘doesn’t matter what the sheep looks like’ ideas since Innovis took them over. I’m not worried what label is attached to a breed, as long as it’s a white faced, medium sized, low input grazing ewe. I’ve used a couple of NZ Texels and a very high index Lleyn, but none added anything much to the mix imo. Gone back to breeding my own Highlander rams, with occasional new blood.

Next step is to breed the wool off them, maybe...
 

gellis888

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have been using Shearwell Farmworks software on a PC and a Psion handheld (& EID reader) since 2010. Little to choose between that program and Border Software’s FarmIT imo.
My weigh head is a TruTest, which sends weights to the Psion by Bluetooth.

I like the Highlander, which does everything I want it to do, but not a fan of the corporate/‘doesn’t matter what the sheep looks like’ ideas since Innovis took them over. I’m not worried what label is attached to a breed, as long as it’s a white faced, medium sized, low input grazing ewe. I’ve used a couple of NZ Texels and a very high index Lleyn, but none added anything much to the mix imo. Gone back to breeding my own Highlander rams, with occasional new blood.

Next step is to breed the wool off them, maybe...
Interesting, thank you. I'm not sure which camp to be in, whether I mind or not what they look like. I was thinking about putting half the ewes to a NZ Texel this year but the lambs are finishing well without the bigger Texel influence and if you went back to straight Highlander that's probably the end of that idea!

Wool shedding Highlanders?! Breeding in Wiltshire horn?

I've been thinking theoretically about GBVs and SIL. Technically, could Highlanders in the UK be registered to SIL and tested for a genetic breeding value in NZ?
 

easyram1

Member
Location
North Shropshire
I've been thinking theoretically about GBVs and SIL. Technically, could Highlanders in the UK be registered to SIL and tested for a genetic breeding value in NZ?
I am sure that anyone from the UK can record any type of sheep on SIL. You just need to collect some data and send it over to a " bureau" in NZ who would input the data into SIL on your behalf. In terms of GBVs again I am sure you can incorporate genomic data and have that included in a GBV analysis. For all our sheep we have figures for 2 separate indexes. One is a straight terminal index and the second is Dual Purpose ( maternal) with meat. The only variation we have compared to the Standard NZ evaluations is that we exclude any weightings for wool.
The one thing I would say is that Breeds in general seem much less important than traits and lots of "different breeds" are included in the single analysis. So if you look at the Dual Purpose 9 maternal) across flock analysis you have Romneys Coopworths Perendales and all sorts of crosses of the above and more as well as al the maternal composites all in a single pot which we find of great interest.
What we find very attractive is that when we import new rams from NZ we can immediately and meaningfully incorporate all those rams data into our own analysis especially if they have already been used in NZ and have lambs on the ground over there. I cannot speak about your particular Highlanders because I do not know the up to date genetic make up of your flock but I assume you could get pedigree details from somewhere going back to original imported sheep.I hope this helps. If you want the name of a good bureau please pm me.
 

gellis888

Member
Livestock Farmer
I am sure that anyone from the UK can record any type of sheep on SIL. You just need to collect some data and send it over to a " bureau" in NZ who would input the data into SIL on your behalf. In terms of GBVs again I am sure you can incorporate genomic data and have that included in a GBV analysis. For all our sheep we have figures for 2 separate indexes. One is a straight terminal index and the second is Dual Purpose ( maternal) with meat. The only variation we have compared to the Standard NZ evaluations is that we exclude any weightings for wool.
The one thing I would say is that Breeds in general seem much less important than traits and lots of "different breeds" are included in the single analysis. So if you look at the Dual Purpose 9 maternal) across flock analysis you have Romneys Coopworths Perendales and all sorts of crosses of the above and more as well as al the maternal composites all in a single pot which we find of great interest.
What we find very attractive is that when we import new rams from NZ we can immediately and meaningfully incorporate all those rams data into our own analysis especially if they have already been used in NZ and have lambs on the ground over there. I cannot speak about your particular Highlanders because I do not know the up to date genetic make up of your flock but I assume you could get pedigree details from somewhere going back to original imported sheep.I hope this helps. If you want the name of a good bureau please pm me.
So any of the sheep could be genomic tested as long as there is some way of linking them to other genomic tested flocks or animals to make it meaningful.
This isn't something I'm in a position to do right now but I find it incredibly interesting. This is really helpful, thanks.
 

shumungus

Member
Livestock Farmer
I know eid has been talked about in previous posts but I’m ‘weighing up’ which brand to go with.

I would like to, going forward, record my sheep flock and make better breeding decisions. I’ve tried to find direct comparisons or differences but not had much luck. All the commercial sheep breeders I’ve seen in the UK and NZ use Tru-Test. But why? Is it market share or do you get more for your money?
You should seriously consider TGM. George MeGarry has done a awful lot of work to develop it and has a very hands on approach, backup and software are second to none, definitely worth a look.
TGM Software Solutions Ltd - Agricultural Farming Software Specialists (Cattle/Sheep/Farm Accounts - 'Making Tax Digital' HMRC VAT/Fields/Apps/Electronic EID Tag Readers/EID Hardware/Agrident)
 

easyram1

Member
Location
North Shropshire
So any of the sheep could be genomic tested as long as there is some way of linking them to other genomic tested flocks or animals to make it meaningful.
This isn't something I'm in a position to do right now but I find it incredibly interesting. This is really helpful, thanks.
I am no expert but the key in terms of all Performance Recording is to get yourself linked to others with similar sheep. This is normally done by sharing rams or using common rams over a period of time. My understanding is that Genomics add greater depth and accuracy to your figs particularly for the hard to measure functional traits and this is particularly important in deciding what young sheep to use for example.
 

gellis888

Member
Livestock Farmer

TGM

Member
Location
Co Down UK
Many thanks to shumungus for the positive comments. Trutest or Gallagher - they're both weighing systems and the weight of the lamb will be the same no matter which you use. What matters as much is what software you use to analyse the results. - can the software calculate 56 day and 90 day weights of lambs, how many years history does it average for each ewe to help identify the ewes with the highest production at both 56 and 90 days. Doe it repeat this sort of analysis for rams, breeds, batches etc. what about tupping weights and ewe efficiency calculations (where a 75 kg ewe producing 75 kg lamb at 90 days is 100% efficient). In using sheep software to evaluate performance and make breeding decisions, it's not the actual calculated value of such metrics that matters, it's the ranking within your own flock. You can't directly compare actual values between farms and breeds. There are too many variables between farms. What matters is identifying your best and worst ewes, best and worst rams, best and worse breeds, cross linking to ewe efficiencies. - What is better, a 100 kg texel producing 100 kg lambs at 90 days, or a 75 kg Llynn producing 75 kg lamb. alternatively maybe you would have a 100 kg Texel producing 75 kg lamb and a 75 kg Llynn producing 80 kg lamb? So whether you use a Gallagher, Trutest or any other scale, that won't produce better sheep and lambs. Analysing the data and making good management decisions on the results will improve ewe, ram and lamb performance.
 

TGM

Member
Location
Co Down UK
Many thanks to shumungus for the positive comments. Trutest or Gallagher - they're both weighing systems and the weight of the lamb will be the same no matter which you use. What matters as much is what software you use to analyse the results. - can the software calculate 56 day and 90 day weights of lambs, how many years history does it average for each ewe to help identify the ewes with the highest production at both 56 and 90 days. Doe it repeat this sort of analysis for rams, breeds, batches etc. what about tupping weights and ewe efficiency calculations (where a 75 kg ewe producing 75 kg lamb at 90 days is 100% efficient). In using sheep software to evaluate performance and make breeding decisions, it's not the actual calculated value of such metrics that matters, it's the ranking within your own flock. You can't directly compare actual values between farms and breeds. There are too many variables between farms. What matters is identifying your best and worst ewes, best and worst rams, best and worse breeds, cross linking to ewe efficiencies. - What is better, a 100 kg texel producing 100 kg lambs at 90 days, or a 75 kg Llynn producing 75 kg lamb. alternatively maybe you would have a 100 kg Texel producing 75 kg lamb and a 75 kg Llynn producing 80 kg lamb? So whether you use a Gallagher, Trutest or any other scale, that won't produce better sheep and lambs. Analysing the data and making good management decisions on the results will improve ewe, ram and lamb performance.
 

TGM

Member
Location
Co Down UK
It's often a few weeks between my posts. I don't always keep up to date. This time of year especially. We'd quite a number of reader sales where the sheep had actually started lambing and the new users were waiting for next day delivery of the reader, to record the sheep so the ewes and lambs could be let out of the pens. Like something they've been thinking of for a few years and then it hits that the sheep have actually started lambing and if they don't get sorted, it will be another 12 months before they get another chance = a panic phone call, can you get something off today for recording tomorrow. Provided it's before lunch and I can get the unit packed up and in to the post office before 2.30 pm, it is usually possible to get it there next day.
 

TGM

Member
Location
Co Down UK
The other thing to consider in buying a scale is what do you want the scale and handling system to do. If you want autodrafting based on many different criteria, then you buy the scale to suit. If you want autodrafting, based only on animal weight, that wil be cheaper. and if you don't want autdrafting at all, that's yet another picture. Examples. Truest Easyweigh7 shows weight and weigh gain per day. no other animal data (breed, group etc) The ID5000, shows a little more but not much. I don't see the point of an ID5000. The XR5000 can show up to 100 data items for each animal and if you are using an autodrafter, can draft according to a combination of these data items. Our Select Sheepware creates a lifedata file for the XR5000 utilising a number of the avaiable 100 database items.
Galagher will have the saome sort of range., I don't know the Gallagher model numbers, but they will have a smore simple scale for weighing (check that it can show weight gain per day) they should also have something similar to the XR5000 - check that it can manage a reasonable number of data items and draft on a combination of these. Word of warning the lowest cost Trutest S3 scale is currently not compatible with any EID reader, not even the trutest reader. We are optimistic that the Agrident readers will be able to retrieve weights rom the Trutest S3 scale soon. the S3 scale uses a Bluetooth protool known as Bluetooth Low Energy BLE which is common on mobile phones. Many stick readers don't have this protocol as an option, but the Agrident hamdhelds and sticks do have BLE s an option.
 

PHealy

Member
Livestock Farmer
Hi Folks.
I purchased a Agrident AWR300 reader and Select Sheepware from George in TGM Software. Superb one hour tutorial after purchase to get me up and running. Brilliant piece of kit. The best thing about it the aftersales service. I've had a few 'operator error' issues, i.e. I didn't know how to use it properly. George sorted it all out promptly over the phone. Top notch service.
 

JD-Kid

Member
I know eid has been talked about in previous posts but I’m ‘weighing up’ which brand to go with.

I would like to, going forward, record my sheep flock and make better breeding decisions. I’ve tried to find direct comparisons or differences but not had much luck. All the commercial sheep breeders I’ve seen in the UK and NZ use Tru-Test. But why? Is it market share or do you get more for your money?
use a XR 5000 here found it good and good back up can do alot of things on the head unit
have a mate that works with a big deer unit they are all Gallagher units and rate them highly but I have not used them
we dont follow ewes as we can't being outdoor lambing and not tagged till later DNA testing a high cost BUT would be worth it I feel
if lambs tagged at birth and the sires could be followed etc would be intresting following breeds or bloodlines
information is key to make it work fully weights at key times growths etc meat or grading yields for sires etc we have the missing link of not being able to fully link ewes to lambs to sires
with being dry at the moment the use of EID and recording helped show up poorer ewes in weights or how they handle the dry shy feeders poor grazers having history of scanning also let us cull out poorer scanning ewes which should help retain better ewes to lower the impact of they dry in coming years
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.



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