Phone app fills miss­ing link

Dairy News Australia - - MANAGEMENT -

MO­BILE TECH­NOL­OGY is mak­ing it much eas­ier to keep track of cow records — just ask WA dairy farmer Ken Raven­hill. “We’ve gone from pa­per and pens, to lap­tops and now we are us­ing the HerdData app on a mo­bile phone to ac­cess cow records,” Ken said. “The tech­nol­ogy is mak­ing it eas­ier to keep good records and ac­cess them when­ever you want, wher­ever you are on the farm.” Ken and Bon­nie Raven­hill own Moonar­alla Hol­steins at Nar­rikup, 25 km north of Al­bany. The fam­ily farm — which in­cludes Ken’s par­ents, Gra­ham and Jan — milks 1200 Hol­steins through a 60-stand rotary and has be­tween eight and 10 full-time staff. “It means we have a massive amount of records on cows in­clud­ing herd test data, herd health records, calv­ing and breed­ing records,” Ken said. “With such a large num­ber of cows we can’t re­mem­ber them all, so it’s great when you can get an app on your phone which lets you ac­cess all that in­for­ma­tion. Ken down­loaded DataGene’s HerdData app as soon as it be­came avail­able as a way of ac­cess­ing herd in­for­ma­tion any­where on the farm. The app syn­chro­nises with the home com­puter pro­gram, EasyDairy, as well as DataGene’s and the herd test com­pany Farm West’s data­bases. He is cur­rently us­ing HerdData to re­trieve in­for­ma­tion such as cow IDs, cow sta­tus, sire and dam de­tails on his phone. The app also al­lows him to view a range of records in­clud­ing herd test data and per­for­mance graphs. “I can ac­cess the data on my phone even if there is no phone sig­nal. “Hav­ing an app on the mo­bile phone saves hav­ing to print lists in the of­fice then carry them around the farm with me — it re­ally fills the miss­ing link in our data sys­tem. “If I’m in the calf pens or out in the pad­dock and I want to look up an an­i­mal I can pull out my phone and look up an an­i­mal’s pedi­gree, BPI or ASI. “I can check when a cow is com­ing into sea­son, when a cow was last mated and when she is due to calve so I can iden­tify cows for lead feed­ing. “I can also look up a cow’s pro­duc­tion and cell count and where she sits in the herd when it comes to mak­ing de­ci­sion on which cows to cull.” The records that can be en­tered on the mo­bile phone in­clude calv­ing dates, AI dates and sires, heat de­tec­tions, dry-off dates, preg­nancy test re­sults, sales, culls, health events and treat­ments. Herd records en­tered dur­ing the day would then syn­chro­nise with the of­fice com­puter to en­sure no records were lost, even if the phone is lost or bro­ken. The HerdData app was de­vel­oped by DataGene — an ini­tia­tive of Dairy Aus­tralia and the Aus­tralian herd record­ing sec­tor, with the as­sis­tance of par­tic­i­pat­ing herd test­ing cen­tres.

The Raven­hill fam­ily (from left) Heath, Thomas, Ken, Lola (at front), Bon­nie, Ge­orgina.

Ken Raven­hill can ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on all cows through his HerdData app.

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