A few weeks ago an Australian instructor provided a demonstration in Low Stress Stockhandling to an agricultural extension officer.
That in itself was not particularly unusual, given that the instructor has given courses in Low Stress Stockhandling to thousands of people over the past nine years.
But what was different about this particular lesson was the way in which it was delivered.
In this instance the instructor was standing in his office in rural NSW and the extension officer receiving the lesson was watching it via a computer screen in England.
It was a telling example of how online technology is helping to transform the way information is being delivered in agriculture – and not just around Australia but around the world.
Grahame Rees is a former NSW livestock producer who now runs courses in livestock handling and marketing through the Low Stress Stockhandling and KLR Marketing schools.
Through that work he has already used online technology in several ways to deliver knowledge quickly and efficiently and to eliminate the tyranny of distance that has long posed a problem for rural information delivery.
For example KLR Marketing uses information videos and live-streaming webinars (web-based seminars) to give clients across the country access to leading Australian and international experts without having to leave their homes.
His recent demonstration in Low Stress Stockhandling to a student on the other side of the world represented a new breakthrough in use of the technology.
Mr Rees said the opportunity came about when an agricultural extension officer from the United Kingdom approached him for information about Low Stress Stockhandling so she could introduce the concept to her clients.
Rather than send pages of written information as would have happened in the past, Mr Rees turned to online video technology to provide a visual explanation instead. He incorporated video footage of livestock being moved through a set of yards to provide a visual demonstration of the practice.
“I showed her a video of someone in Western Australia drafting some sheep and there was no body letting them up, they were choosing to come up through the draft race themselves. And that blew her away,” Mr Rees said.
Mr Rees said online video technology could lay the platform for the development of a new export industry as trainers deliver knowledge to workshop participants around the world.
“I do see it developing as we go along,” Mr Rees said. “I’m experimenting with different technologies, and this is great for live training. “
He said the ability to use the technology expand the reach of Low Stress Stockhandling techniques could play a critical role in helping livestock producers all over the world to solve labor shortages.
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