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NZ Software Updates Go Global

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology For immediate release


Ranchers in Brazil and the United States will soon be able to update software for their cattle-weighing scales from a New Zealand website. The data, supplied by Auckland farm products maker Tru-Test Ltd, updates software in a computer-linked display made by Tru-Test and attached to load bars under the scales.

"Animals are constantly weighed, especially in United States feedlots where they're kept for fattening and the food is brought to them," Tru-Test software engineer John Spray says. "Weighing helps ranchers decide when the animals are ready for selling or slaughter."

Tru-Test has previously been e-mailing the updates to customers. University of Waikato bachelor of science and technology student Robert Paxton wrote the software that automated the testing of new indicator software before being released. Mr Paxton says the software tested all the functional aspects of the animal-weighing and statistical information system.

"We had to make sure the software was seeing the correct weight and for the correct animal. This is important when ranchers could be dealing with thousands of animals," he says.

"The software also had to have the ability to convert from metrics to imperial weights, or vice versa. It had to make sure the scales were internationally suitable. Some countries use the day-month-year format, whereas in the United Sates and Canada it is month-day-year." Mr Paxton's work has also allowed the system to be tested more quickly. "It cut testing down to hours, instead of days," he says.

The project was supported by the Technology for Industry Fellowship scheme of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The scheme gives students an opportunity to work with businesses while studying for their degree.

Mr Paxton, 20, is now studying for his master of science degree in physics at the University of Auckland. He says he learned from his project something about how companies work together and how an idea can progress to design, testing and marketing. -ends-

Contact: * Robert Paxton, 714A Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland. Ph: (09) 630-9484, (021) 124-1166. E-mail: * John Spray, Tru-Test Ltd, 241 Ti-Rakau Dr, East Tamaki, Auckland. Ph: (09) 978-8765. Fax: (09) 978-8782. E-mail:, * Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525,

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