Liam O’Keeffe farms in Ballydesmond outside Mallow, Co. Cork, where he is currently milking 70 spring calving cows and rearing their heifers, on his own. For the past 9 months, he has enlisted the help of a “virtual” assistant: the Herdwatch farm app. We met Liam to obtain a farmer review on this new way of managing his farm. “Calving down 70 cows on your own is a time and energy consuming task. In spring time it would often be 11 o’clock at night before I get back to the house and then I would have to face into registering calves or recording remedies”.
Liam now registers all his calves with Herdwatch as he tags them, which means there is no longer a build-up of calves that need registering at night, and it removes the guessing game of which calf belongs to which cow.
“I don’t need pen or paper, and most importantly the information recorded is always 100% correct as the calf and dam are there beside me. And you don’t even need 3G or Wi-Fi to do this.”
A one-person operation: Farmer review
Keeping on top of the Bord Bia paperwork is difficult at the best of times, but even more so in a one-person operation. It can be extremely easy to let things slip when you are at your busiest. Before getting Herdwatch Liam would record his Bord Bia compliance into the book after finishing work. “Now”, he says,
“I record my remedies when I’m washing the parlour and record my ration in Herdwatch as it comes into the farm. It is very easy to keep on top of things because it’s like having all the books in your phone. No one carries their books around with them but everyone carries their phone”
Cutting out the “messing”
Selling bull calves in spring is a time consuming job between advertising and showing them and getting the paperwork sorted. Liam now uses Herdwatch to apply for his Movement Certs when he is selling his calves.
“When I was selling calves or hiring bulls I used to have to fax Movement Certs, now I just apply for them through Herdwatch, it cuts out a lot of messing and saves a lot of time. For Herdwatch, is a no-brainer”
Thousands of Farmers are currently using the App around the country, and judging by the feedback from farmers, there is no going back to paper! Stay tuned for the next farmer review.