Modern, intensive farms make the farmer totally responsible for all livestock under his control. Farming practices have move away from self-sustaining mixed livestock enterprises with relatively small numbers of several species, towards large species units. Animals now are produced intensively, and maintained under near ideal conditions for growth and production within current technological limits. The majority of animals are constrained within a building or stockyard for most or all of their lives. As they are prevented from foraging for their own food, the farmer takes complete responsibility for all aspects of their husbandry. Monitoring of feeding, environment, reproduction, health, growth, marketing, transport and quality becomes the responsibility of the stock- man. This responsibility is not only moral; it is also in the farmer’s commercial interest to satisfy these basic needs of his livestock.
For a given group of animals, product quality depends almost entirely on the skill, experience and subjective assessments of the producer in monitoring and controlling the production process. Very little technological assistance is currently available. This means that the producer is frequently unable to monitor and control the variables which will determine the value: of the product. Many producers have great expertise, but there is considerable evidence that customers’ requirements are frequently not met. For example the beef trade considers animals with particular conformations and fat levels to be more desirable than others, but only about 40% of animals meet this specification (h4eat and Livestock Commission, 1994). It seems to be highly likely that this is due, at least in part, to the inability of the producer accurately to assess and control the variables that affect conformation and fat levels.
Sensors are being developed which can gather an increasingly wide range of information. However with the development of these sensors it becomes more important to develop systems which can collect, process and utilise the information. Raw data, on its own, is of limited value. The stockman can maximise the efficiency of a production system only by monitoring all its critical stages and targets and ensuring that they are kept close to the optimum. For example, it may be necessary to assimilate data on the climate within and without a building, the breed, number, age, feed level and weight of animals, their growth rate, activity and health records and market requirements.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a deep understanding of your livestock activity? Tracking the location of livestock within pastures or large areas can help you understand when they are feeding and drinking. Also monitor temperatures to help fend off disease or infections.
Finally, an all-in-one mobile livestock management and tracking solution from Farm4Trade
The Farm4Trade application Suite offers an integrated affordable system for all tracking stages from; breeding, health, transporting, selling, productivity analytics and more.
Farm4Trade is a compelling new player entering the livestock management tracking systems market with a collection of integrated cloud based mobile applications. The industry is lacking a full supply chain management solution for livestock productivity and the Farm4Trade Suite promises to deliver a long awaited solution, while being affordable and accessible from anywhere with it’s cloud based structure, including a “synch later” offline mode.
Co-founder and Veterinarian, Andrea Capobianco Dondona has bold intentions for the project: “Our goal is to empower farmers with the data and tools so they can better predict and optimize their productivity, and as a side effect perhaps help reverse rural abandonment trend and boost local livestock economies”. He adds “…another long term dream is to leverage collective community contribution of georeferenced data for research purposes to identify patterns to improve animal health”.
The flagship Farm4Trade application, Farm Management allows you and your staff to record and retrieve data about your animals at one or more farms, along with a host of other features. Farm Management, is currently available on IOS, Android and as a web app.
Here are some exciting highlights for upcoming Suite apps in development, to be released over the next year.
- Business Intelligence:Make your Farm Management data come to life with productivity analytics reports for pregnancy, mild production, feeding etc. A first version will be released by year’s end.
- Smart Feeding: Auto-formulate nutrition on a budget. Create and assign custom rations to your animals based on your criteria such as species and feed database, which includes common Southern African bush-based feeds.
- Marketplace and Amove,online animal markets to offer alternative opportunities and cost savings for animal selling/purchasing and transport pooling. The animals records can be accessed or transferred.
To find out when new applications are released, Sign up to the newsletter at Farm4trade.com
With Capobianco Dondona’s field experience in Southern Africa and relationship with the University of Namibia’s Agriculture faculty, Farm4Trade has chosen to invest here first.
Late September 2019 will mark the opening of the first Farm4Trade Café in Windhoek, Namibia, a resource centre offering free services to breeders and livestock farmers, while promoting the advantages Farm4Trade applications.
Another way to meet the friendly team is at “Windhoek Industrial and Agricultural Show” from September 30 to October 4, 2019. Stop by the Farm4Trade WIAS booth for a demo.
Download the Farm Management app at the Google Play and Apple App stores, or by web browser at Farm4trade.com.