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Farmers score with new DairyNZ app launching at Fieldays

Farmers score with new DairyNZ app launching at Fieldays

Wednesday 3 June, 2015

A tool to allow farmers to perform one of their most important jobs on a smartphone will soon be available when DairyNZ launches its new free Body Condition Scoring (BCS) App at the National Agricultural Fieldays next week in the Waikato.

The app gives farmers the opportunity to body condition score cows on their smartphone using DairyNZ's Body Condition Scoring Made Easy field guide.

DairyNZ animal husbandry specialist Andrea Henry says condition scoring cows is such an important job, DairyNZ wanted to make it as easy as possible.

DairyNZ looked at other apps out there in the marketplace and decided that none of them had everything farmers were saying they wanted, she says. So it created its own.

"The whole idea around the app is to help farmers get better and more consistent at scoring their animals," says Andrea.
"Using this app, when you are scoring animals you will be more accurate. And you are more likely to do it often because it's easier."

DairyNZ's Body Condition Scoring Made Easy field guide has been built into the app so users can compare the field guide's pictures to the cows in front of them.

She says feedback from farmers showed how important it was to be able to compare a visual guide to the real cows in the paddock.

"But what farmer has the Body Condition Scoring Made Easy field guide with them 24/7? But they do have their smartphones with them - it's very rare these days for people to be away from their phone.

"You've literally got the information at your fingertips."

The app enables a farmer to follow a cow's progress through the season and also to graph the progress of the entire herd.
An exciting feature is the app's ability to flag cows and enter their identification numbers into the phone.

"Let's say you drive past a cow and see it is lame or you see three cows in heat. That's fine but can you remember which cows they are? Now you can act immediately."

The entire herd can be identified on the app with their individual IDs. The information gathered by the app on any particular cow can then easily be emailed on.

DairyNZ brand marketing manager Andrew Fraser says the Body Condition Score App follows DairyNZ's other app, its Farm Dairy Effluent Calculator, but he's expecting the BCS App to be even more popular.

"The dairy effluent calculator is something you do every once in a while; this new one is going to be used all the time."

The development of more on-farm apps is inevitable, and a pasture assessment app will probably be the next one to be made available after the Body Condition Score App, he says.

"Now farmers have a computer in their pocket, we can give them a tool to help them make decisions when they are out and about. Our job is to provide a tool that is nice and intuitive and adds value to their day in these tight times."

Farmers can download the new free app from the Apple or Android app stores from June 10. Farmers can also find out more about how to use the new app at DairyNZ's stand in the Main Pavilion PC44, 46 and 48 at the National Agricultural Fieldays from 10-13 June at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, near Hamilton.


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