App happy farmers will learn about the iphone and smartphone applications that can make life more manageable on the land in a difficult season at free Sheep Connect NSW workshops in Forbes and Eugowra on April 15.
And Australian Wool Innovation’s Lifetime Ewe Management app and other farm recording apps will be among those to feature at the workshops.
More than 2000 farmers managing 8 million-plus ewes have done the LTEM course in Australia and SheepConnect NSW presenter, RaynerAg principal, Alastair Rayner said the LTEM App would be one of the main applications discussed at the workshops.
Other apps that will be important to farmers as winter approaches were the drought-feed calculator, and farm and veterinary recording apps, he said.
Mr Rayner said people have been generally happy with the LTEM app and he would outline its practical use at the workshops.
“Most producers now seem to have some form of smartphone and were using them in farm recording and management processes, so the timing is pretty right.”
Partners in Sheep Connect NSW, Department of Primary Industries and AWI, are running the Social Media and Smartphone Apps for Agriculture workshops to give farmers practical information about popular social media platforms.
AWI media manager Marius Cuming said 688 producers have downloaded the LTEM App from the iTunes App store and an android version of the app will be developed, along with iCloud capability to allow multiple farm users to aggregate data.
Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) NSW regional officer Louise Pearce said the LTEM app helps producers proactively manage ewe flock nutrition through the reproduction cycle.
“An increasing number of Australian livestock producers are using smart phones to help run their daily operations, and the end result is increased productivity and greater profitability as they make technology work for them.”
Victorian prime lamb and wool producer at Mooralla, north of Hamilton, Rick Luhrs, said he used the LTEM app on his iPhone for feed budgeting and rationing, and to assess the metabolisable energy content of pasture. He is currently feeding 2400 Merino ewes, 2100 Merino weaners and 1800 crossbred ewes on sacrifice paddocks, and has found the LTEM app well-suited to keeping sheep in forward condition.
Focus on effective use of social media
Sheep Connect NSW coordinator, Shelly Anderson, said the Forbes and Eugowra workshops will focus on how to effectively use social media and identify the smart phone apps which could be used to support day-to-day business on the farm.
“Social media can be used as a tool to gather information and promote your enterprise in the local, interstate or global community.
“More people are using mobile and hand-held technology to run their business and they want quick and easy access to information,” she said.
“Farmers can provide that information in places where potential customers are looking, and that’s where social media platforms can deliver.
“The immediacy of social media can help farmers promote their products to clients in an affordable, timely manner,” Ms Anderson said.
“Farmers can also communicate, give and get advice or share ideas with each other and industry experts through social media.
”These new communication channels can help highlight the role of agriculture and bridge gaps between urban and rural communities.”
Mrs Anderson said apps offer farmers the ability to access information in their own time, in any location and can be a great decision-support tool.
The workshops presented by RaynerAg principal, Alastair Rayner, will be held at the Forbes Services Club from 8:30am until 10:30am and St. Josephs School Library, Eugowra from 2pm until 4pm.
Biosecurity apps help productivity
Mrs Pearce said there is an ever-increasing range of powerful tools and biosecurity apps available to make livestock operations more efficient and productive. These include:
– iHerd. This provides farmers with lifetime traceability of their herds, including treatments and location movements. It saves time by allowing the farmer to enter the information onto the computer server via an app while out in the paddock.
– agVantage. An iPhone app designed as an easy, quick and portable way to determine dose rate for a range of sheep and cattle health treatments. It will determine the required dose rate per animal and the numbers of litres needed to treat the entire herd or flock.
– Coopers Animal Health smartphone app. It provides detailed information about products, latest labels, support material and a ‘Solution Finder’, that identifies the most suitable solution for any animal health problem.
– DAFWA condition scoring app. This app from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA helps with nutrition by recording sheep body condition scores and calculating the average flock condition score.
Contact [email protected] or (02) 6391 3954 for more information and to register for the Forbes or Eugowra workshop.
Sources: NSW Department of Primary Industries, SheepConnectNSW, Australian Wool Innovation and Livestock Biosecurity Network.