Quick & easy farm compliance - and moreTeam at FarmIQ on 18/09/15 11:39
Sheep and beef farmer Marcus Edge has found a quick and easy way to present the right information for farm assurance and compliance audits.
He has changed his farm recording this past year, and the key has been using online farm management software with a mobile phone app.
Marcus and his wife Vanessa lease a 330ha property at Pirinoa in South Wairarapa from a family member. It’s a flat property suitable for intensive finishing, and their main focus is growing out 2000 ewe lamb replacements for hill country breeders.
“We keep them for 12 months and lamb them and give the breeder back a rising 2-tooth. Then we take their next batch of lambs off them.” This enables the breeders to focus on other stock classes, he points out, and they’re also getting a well-grown, 65kg-plus two-tooth that will perform better through its lambing life as a result.
The Edges also finish about 300 bulls and steers. “Currently we’ve got 162 yearling steers and 124 Friesian bulls. We buy them in as weaners in April-May and winter them on crops, then take them through spring and once all spring grass has been eaten we sell them store at about 400kg liveweight.”
Dealing with several other farmers and different stock classes, there’s plenty happening on the farm ‒ but Marcus no longer uses a paper diary at all.
“I record everything with my mobile phone. In the past, if we drenched a mob of lambs I would mark it in the notebook and then in the evening I would transfer it to a diary. Now, I push a few buttons on the phone and it is done. It’s a real time-saver.
“NAIT transactions happen automatically when I record a sale or purchase of cattle on the System. It’s one less thing to do.
“And you are building up paddock history too – I can go into the record for any paddock and look at the history of pasture covers, grazing days, what mobs have been in there, what fertiliser or chemicals have been applied and what crops have been grown.”
And, using the online farm management software means when the meat company assurance person came a few months ago, Marcus just had to print out a few reports. “All of our records were sitting there in our online database, so it was just a matter of hitting print. We flicked through those with him and ‒ job done.”
He’s also using the software to organise all the farm tasks and to test out management options.
To coordinate farm work between himself, Vanessa and their shepherd, he’s set up a plan for each class of stock through the whole new season and an online calendar shows when tasks need to be done.
He can also set up some stock rotations: “Then in the morning our shepherd can see what stock movements need to be done and just go and do them.” Marcus sees potential for using it to manage health and safety too.
The software can be used as an investigative tool, as well. “For example one thing we’ve done this winter is put some of the cattle on kale and some on swedes ‒ and we’ve tracked their growth. I take their liveweights straight from my Tru-Test indicator and send them to my online database with my phone. I don’t do any manual recording. The database is helping us decide what is more profitable for us.”
MANAGING GRAZING STOCK
In future Marcus wants to use the software to provide the sheep breeders with information about what happened with their ewe replacements during the year they were grazed away. “We could give them feedback including a printout of all animal health treatments, growth rates and reproduction data from the day they arrived to the day they left.”
When combined with EID tagging, the software can also make mob management easier, Marcus says, because it keeps track of what animal is from where even in mixed mobs. And if they need to be drafted, the database provides a file for the auto-drafter. “That cuts down a whole lot of workload for us – and that’s just one aspect of it.”
Want to see the online farm management software that makes assurance and compliance reporting quick and easy? Click below