Author: Jef Aernouts (Farmdesk) - Date: February 25, 2019
Milk production data contain an enormous amount of useful information. Based upon production numbers, fat and protein levels, urea levels, cel counts and plate counts, farmers should continuously make decisions. Feed management is one of the major concerns on any dairy goat farm. On a technical level, rationing has a huge impact on milk production. It accounts for 40-70% of the milk yield. On an economical level, feed is the major cost on any dairy farm.
However, many dairy farmers admit not to have enough insights on the data and feel uncomfortable about taking technical decisions due to a proclaimed lack of knowledge.
This observation was the reason to establish Farmdesk (www.farmdesk.eu), a Flemish spin-off of Wim Govaerts & Co, one of the 4D4F project partners. Farmdesk is an on-line software tool that currently consists of a Milk, Feed and Economy module.
The Milk module collects all milk data through automatic data connections. Farmdesk visualizes the data and gives automatic attentions by smart algorithms. These algorithms are based upon SOP’s that are also published on the 4D4F website.
In the Feed module, farmers can manage their feeds, and can calculate rations. By presenting the rations in a graphical way, farmers pick up insights much quicker. Also, Farmdesk incorporates animal signals (body condition score, manure consistency, milk data) into account to give hands-on advice to adjust rations accordingly.
The Economy module allows farmers to calculate the major economical KPI’s on a regular basis, to keep track on it. By collection data from the Milk and Feed module, the calculation is very quick with only a handful of manual inputs.
Farmdesk and its mobile app give automatic push notifications to farmers in case of attentions. In this way, farmers keep track on this, also in busy periods e.g. in field seasons. Next to this, a farmer can connect his/her farm to his/her preferred advisor. In this way, the communication process between farmer and advisor is much more efficient. The farmer pays less on consultancy hours, the advisor gains a lot of time not searching/mailing/calling for data, he sees and communicates it on-line.
Many farmers rely for a huge part on ration advice by commercial feed suppliers. Farmers should pay attention that they keep track on the decisions themselves, especially when it comes to ration costs. Feed suppliers have benefits in selling more concentrates, while farmers should make the technical-economical best ration.