Tipperary-based farm technology company Herdwatch, a branch of Farm Relief Services, has this week been approved for a link-in with the Department of Agriculture's Animal Identification and Movements System (AIMS).
"This is an extremely important milestone for us and a guarantee to our future customers that Herdwatch has been thoroughly tested and is now authorised to link up directly with the national bovine database, also known as AIMS on the department’s Agfood.ie portal," said its IT manager Fabien Peyaud.
Only two other actively-trading companies in Ireland have this approval and, according to Herdwatch, it will be the only company to offer these advanced features across multiple devices, such as smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs.
Speaking to AgriLand Peyaud explained: "This means for example that farmers will not have to manually enter every animal on Herdwatch, they can simply 'sync' with the department’s database at any time from their smart phone, tablet, or laptop/pc. Also calf birth registration will be greatly simplified, no paperwork to fill out, just enter the details on any device at any time and submit them electronically and directly to the department."
Herdwatch is currently in the final stages of development and testing, and it is hoping to have the Herdwatch Mobile Herd Manager available either just before or just after Christmas. "We have not yet finalised pricing, but we can already announce that Herdwatch will cost less than €100 inc Vat per year."
Peyaud stressed the importance of technology and innovation to achieve farm efficiency. "Technology in livestock monitoring is without a doubt one the biggest areas of potential efficiency and quality gains for livestock farmers.
"You just have to look at the enthusiasm shown by farmers in robotic milking, heat detection, calving cameras or automated feeding systems. Farming is a way of life, but it’s also a business, and as in any business, anything that can be automated or simplified cost-effectively should be so that farm managers have more time to make important business decisions."
The IT manager said its research show most farmers did not find the existing herd management packages suitable for their needs. "So we decided to step in and provide them with the exact tool they asked for: an easy-to-use, affordable and, above all, truly mobile solution. Herdwatch will allow them to keep on top of their compliance requirements, remedies, calf registration, Bord Bia, the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation whenever and wherever they are."