Cargill’s smartphone app for remote analysis of feed, milk
Managing forage analysis via a convenient handheld device and smartphone app is now well established, and US-based feed giants Cargill have got in on the act with their new Reveal analysis service, which was one of the winners in the Top 10 New Products Competition at the recent World Ag Expo in Tulare, California.
The big advance achieved is that the device can also be used to analyse milk.
By combining their global forage database with the world’s first pocket-sized near-infra-red connected micro-spectrometer made by SCiO, Cargill enables dairy farmers to quickly analyse both forage and whole milk samples on the farm. Users can quickly determine the dry matter of their forage to make ration adjustments in realtime.
The app saves an electronic record of each analysis.
But what is new is the milk analysis capability, allowing dairy farmers the ability to also instantly analyse raw milk for fat, protein and total solids. What is happening is that when the device is used to scan samples, it compares them against the Cargill Forage Lab “in the cloud”, which is part of the global Cargill database of feed ingredients, the largest in the world, so the analysis-comparison is as accurate as possible.
In the United States, the Reveal analysis app is free to download, but requires an active subscription to log in.
It can be downloaded on to any iOS or Android smartphone mobile device.
In the US, the initial investment is $499 (€407) for the SCiO device, with a monthly service fee of $180 (€147), and a 12-month contract commitment.
The monthly service fee includes access to dry matter and whole milk calibrations, which are continuously being refined and updated “in the cloud”.
To scan whole milk, there is a liquid accessory that costs an additional $65.
The payoff includes being able to quickly analyse the dry matter content of forages, and therefore adjust the ration for more consistent intake by the herd.
Dry matter variation is an important variable to keep tabs on, in US dairy farming.
The University of Wisconsin has shown dry matter variation of around 6-10% between lots of alfalfa or corn silages.
Those variations can result in lost production, wasted nutrients, or both.
The Cargill Reveal kit can be used on the farm for fast analysis of forage or milk.