4D4F event: Data for better yields

Author: Jef Aernouts (Farmdesk) - Date: January 17, 2019

This 4D4F event, held on December 12, was the last session for dairy cattle farmers organized by Wim Govaerts & CO and ILVO. In previous sessions, the focus was mostly on sensors. In this session, Flemish farmers were brought together to discuss the use of the most essential data of every dairy farm: milk data.

Jef Aernouts (Farmdesk) started off the event with a brief description of the 4D4F project, with special focus on the Technology Warehouse, the Videos and the SOP’s. Next, he discussed some of the results of the questionnaire at the kick-off meeting on February 7, 2017 in Ghent. The main findings with regard to this meeting were: >50% of the farmers were interested in a tool to gain more insights on rationing KPI’s; >80% indicates to have interest in doing more with farm data in their management software. These findings date back from more than a year ago. It was the trigger for the Farmdesk startup initiative.

After the intro, Jef demonstrated the Farmdesk tool (www.farmdesk.eu), an online tool that:

  • connects to the dairy cattle milk data
  • interprets this data and gives automatic feedback and alerts
  • has a built-in rationing tool, that allows ration calculation taking milk results into account
  • has a built-in economy module, that allows easy calculation of economic KPI’s by automatic import of milk results.

Wim Govaerts (Wim Govaerts & co) contributed to the workshop by giving an agronomic basis for  the algorithms behind Farmdesk. Wim is co-founder of Farmdesk and an experienced agricultural advisor. During the demo, there were lots of discussion and feedback from the farmers.

Ben Versteynen (Dairy goat farmer in Poppel, Belgium) ended the workshop by giving personal experiences on using milk data to improve technical performance. His main focus was on planning rationing for a long period depending on the available feed, the options of buying single compounds on the long-term market and measuring cow signals like manure consistency and body condition.