North Cork Creameries supplier Donal Lehane, along with Thomas McAuliffe, milk 100 pedigree Holsteins in Kanturk and have been using the Herdwatch farm management app to reduce farm paperwork and make better decisions since last year. They farm 51 hectares altogether with 40 at home and the remaining 11 outside the farm. They have a spring calving system in place with 100 pedigree Holsteins and a keen interest in breeding, they have also been milk recording over 30 years.
“All the paperwork was being done by Donal’s wife, Maura, and we wanted to take some of the pressure off of her as the paperwork can easily get out of hand and I noticed there was a lot of nights being spent trying to chase this paperwork and on the computer by Donal and Maura, especially for the Bord Bia inspections and dry’s offs, as we do selective dry cow therapy. I thought to myself, if had to have the right tool in place, I could have a lot of this done walking around the yard with the phone in my hand.”
“Donal was reluctant at the start as he thought signing up to Herdwatch would be a lot of hassle and as well as that, the paperwork was something Maura took a lot of pride in doing such as the calf registrations, she was very good at that. Once Donal agreed to give it a go, it turned out getting up and running with Herdwatch was extremely easy. We signed up at the kitchen table in a few minutes one day and now use the Herdwatch app to record all of our remedies, treatments and feed purchases in the easy to use app. To be honest, the hardest part of getting set up with Herdwatch was finding the bank card to make the payment!”
“We register calves with the department in the app plus it looks after our pedigree registrations and breeding records including serves & scans with the ICBF. We also get our milk records in the Herdwatch app which is very handy for making dry off management decisions in the parlour.
Because we’re in derogation, we’re conscious of our ration usage, especially more so than ever this year you can only use certain rations at certain times of the year, so every time I purchase feed, I record it on Herdwatch for our own records which allows me to keep track of it. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself feeding quite a high level of concentrate without even realising how much you bought.”
“Ordering replacement tags is a very useful feature that we have started to use recently. Previously, we’d make a list of cows with missing tags and bring them back to Maura to order them. Now, if I see a cow in the yard with a missing tag, I can just pull out the phone and order the tags from our tag supplier on the spot with Herdwatch in a few seconds”
“Herdwatch has made getting ready for our Quality Assurance inspections a lot easier, as all the reports are there already in the app ready for the inspector. In the past, we would be going back on notes we jotted down during the year and vets receipts, almost depending on memory to backfill the records which is not very accurate. But now with Herdwatch in my pocket, a medicine purchase is recorded when it’s bought along with recording our treatments on the spot in the Herdwatch app”
The Herdwatch app is available to download for free on the Apple App Store and Android Play Store. A free plan is available for all farmers, with yearly PRO memberships starting at €79+VAT. For more information, visit www.herdwatch.com or call 0505-34400.