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Balancing off-farm commitments with an expanding herd in Co. Limerick

Louise Crowley from Croom, Co. Limerick milks a herd of 150 Friesian cows under a spring-calving system in partnership with her father, John.

Both Louise and John work full-time on the farm, while additional help is hired in during the busy times of the year such as the calving period. When things calm down on the home farm, Louise works part-time as a relief milker with FRS.

Outside of work, the Limerick native is heavily involved in Macra na Feirme, at both club and county level. In addition, Louise scooped the Queen of the Land award in 2018. If that’s not enough, Louise is also the secretary of the local and county vintage club.

“It can be very tough, but I’m very lucky that I do have dad here full-time around the farm; that he can cover for me when I am gone away.
“I try limit most things to night time, just so I can get jobs done at home; but when I’m gone at night, that too cuts into my time for getting paperwork done.

 

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Technology assisting expansion

Conscious of paving the way for the expanding herd which is set to reach 170 cows next year, Louise has turned to technology to make her and John's life easier.

After initially hearing about Herdwatch at the National Ploughing Championships and becoming more familiar with the app through FRS, Louise and John are now avid members.

“Use in apps on the farm has increased and Herdwatch would be the main app; it’s used every day on the farm, several times a day.
“I use it for everything from registering a calf and ordering replacement tags; I use it an awful lot for weighing my calves when they’re born, to see if they reach target weights.
“Even for putting animals into groups. When you have your batches of animals, it’s very easy for batched dosing; all your remedies are recorded – everything you have in your medicine cabinet. It’s just so much easier to keep track of it now.”

Calf registration in seconds

At the moment, calving is in full swing on the Crowley’s farm and Herdwatch is revolutionising how calves are registered. Previously, calves were registered online on a PC; however, Louise outlined that the new system is a lot simpler and far quicker.

“What I find is when I’m tagging a calf, I scan the tag and I have the calf registered by the time the second tag goes on the calf and I have my card for the calf within the next two days.”

 

Herdwatch-calf-registartion-scan-tags

 

Movements made easy

The Crowleys sell most of their calves direct off the farm. Herdwatch simplifies this process.

“It’s really changed how we work animal movements on the farm. When a buyer comes in they can pick their calves as I do up the movement form and, if they’re on Herdwatch or online, I can give them the movement cert codes straight away and they have it accepted even before the calves leave the yard.
“I also find the feature of being able to text on the movement number from the movement cert onto the buyer very handy; it makes the process much quicker.”

 

Herdwatch-movements-cattle

 

Peace of mind at inspection time

Herdwatch has also changed the game when it comes Bord Bia inspections for the Crowley family.

“If I buy something in the vets, I can scan the code on the product straight away and I know by the time I’m home it’s on my system.
“I use it for keeping track of what I have dosed. If you are in the pit and tube a cow while milking, it’s just as easy to get the phone out and pick the cow number and straight away it tells you how long she’s out of the tank and it notifies you when she’s eligible to go back in as well, so it’s fierce handy you don’t even have to work out the dates for yourself.”

Herdwatch is fully compliant with Bord Bia and EU quality assurance standards and allows farmers to register calves and manage cattle movements on their phone. It is fully integrated with ICBF so farmers can see their breeding, milk records and EBI/Eurostar information on Herdwatch.

You too can join Louise and over 8,000 happy farmers saving time on farm paperwork and managing their farms more efficiently for FREE.

The Free-Plan allows farmers to:

  • Download their Herd from APHIS (NI), BCMS (UK) or Agfood (IRL) 
  • Record 5 calf registrations
  • Record their medicine purchases
  • Record Heat detection and general tasks

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Still not sure? Why not talk to a member of our team today to find out more by requesting a call back here 

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