Phone app fills missing link
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.