The development of faster computer processing speeds and machine learning is revolutionising farm management by helping producers make quicker and better-informed decisions. This, in turn, is leading to greater efficiency, less wastage, improved traceability, greater sustainability and better animal welfare.
Mobile applications (apps) add extra value to the technology by enabling farmers to conveniently access information and control equipment remotely via their smartphones, tablets or watches, at any time and in any place. Farmers do not have to be glued to their screens to keep track of what is happening, as most modern apps send push notifications, such as updates of important information.
Many farmers already use remote desktop apps to access and manage irrigation programmes when they are not on the farm. This technology is becoming increasingly refined, however, and within a few years should be able to alert a farmer in real time of the specific location of a problem, such as a broken pump or leak.
A wide range of systems has been designed for virtually all aspects of farm management. For example, FarmRanger, a South African-designed system, enables a farmer to monitor the safety of livestock. A collar hanging around the animal’s neck transmits a signal to a cell phone when the animal moves suddenly and unexpectedly, as it would in the case of theft or a predator attack. The system indicates where the animal is located and allows for rapid reaction.
Another app, FarmTrack, enables a farmer to keep track of vehicles at all times, as well as identify driver errors, monitor spray applications, and keep tabs on other parameters.
Many apps work offline, allowing farmers to access and add content when they do not have access to the Internet. This means that production data can be recorded on a smartphone or tablet in the field, then be uploaded to the cloud once Internet access is restored.
BenguFarm, developed by South African software developer BenguSoft, is such an app. It offers management and recordkeeping software designed for the sheep, goat, beef cattle, game and pig industries, and is suitable for both stud and commercial flocks. It can be used for an independent herd management programme or as part of stud breeding and/ or performance testing through SA Stud Book or the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
The app can record data on virtually every aspect of production, including new animals, mating, pregnancies, lambing, weights, wool, vaccination and dosing, diseases and treatments, and group and camp movements.
You can read upto 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log-in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
March 27, 2020