By Matilda Hughes
Farmers have used paper notebooks to tally livestock numbers since the beginning of time, but an NSW woman has created a more futuristic replacement for paperwork.
After a long day on the land, Central West Farmer Marian McGann struggled to collate all livestock numbers on the farm in a single, organised file. One year later she’s launched My Pocket Mate Stock Keeper, a smartphone App which allows farmers to file all livestock information in a singular online database.
“I just needed something simple, cohesive, easy to understand and straightforward to use,” Marian said.
Allowing farmers to ditch pocket notebooks for a digital solution, the application allows farmers to organise their files in a system that suits the individual.
In trialling of the app, landowner Craig Millynn tested the software to see if farmers who rarely use technology could find the app suitable for work.
“When it comes to most of this latest technology I’m a bit of a dinosaur and a bit reluctant to embrace any of it,” he said.
Initially reluctant to use the app, Craig was surprised by its simplicity in navigation.
“I downloaded it all meself and put it on my phone meself and set it up meself, so, once again like I said before, if I can use it I think anyone can.”
Now Craig uses the application for uses beyond tallying stock, including the recording of all farming exercises for all types of livestock and crops.
“We can keep track of drenches and animal husbandry practices that we do with our stock and that’s all recorded there on your phone. Batch numbers of drenches and withholding,” he said.
It is also useful to identify trends, including increases and losses in numbers in relation to livestock. Craig said he used the technology to analyse the fluctuation of livestock as influenced by the drought. In the past year alone, Craig’s cattle numbers have dropped from 1,200 head to 300; a depreciating rate which he says is getting worse with each month without rain.
Farming in remote areas can use the technology also. All statistics can be accessed and added to when out of range and are automatically uploaded on to the cloud when you are back in service.
“You’re not worried about losing your notebook, the information’s always there even if you lose your phone or break your phone the information’s there you can get it again,” Craig said.
Marian said that she has also found the app handing in tracking down her farm hands when they aren’t in reception. To see where they have been she can simply open the app and see which paddock name’s files have been last entered into.
However, she insists that there is no break of data privacy.
“The data is structured in such a way that it really doesn’t mean anything other than to the user so it can never be used for research purposes or marketing exploitation,” she said.
“This an app for farmers and for farmers only.”