One way DairyNZ has harnessed technological improvements is by developing a number of free smartphone and tablet applications (apps). Some of these help farmers make important on-farm management decisions, while others teach children about dairy farming.
Facts & Figures App
Launched: October 2017
This app has made it easier for farmers to access information from DairyNZ’s Facts & Figures book, a quick reference guide for New Zealand dairy farmers.
Available data includes feed requirements, nutritional information, pasture growth data and tips for managing different animal health issues.
Launched: July 2017
This app makes it easier for farmers to assess their fertiliser use, effluent, waterways, races, cropping, water use and irrigation, and create an action plan on their smartphone.
More than 1500 farmers have already downloaded the app since it was launched in July.
Launched: March 2015
The BCS (body condition score) Tracker allows farmers to score cows in the field on a smartphone and have quick access to the results.
It also takes the hassle out of recording BCS data on paper and then transferring it to a computer; it can now all be done electronically.
Farm Dairy Effluent Spreading Calculator
Launched: August 2013
DairyNZ’s Farm Dairy Effluent Spreading Calculator allows farmers to easily calculate nutrient loadings and application rates for dairy effluent based on a number of customisable inputs.
Farm Rules, Gumboot Glory and Rosie's Big OE
Launched: July 2015, February 2014 and March 2017
These apps have been created to teach children about farming in a fun and interactive way – from farm safety to fun facts about the countries that love our dairy products.
Collectively, the apps have been downloaded 27,000 times.
Farmers armed with technology
The statistics show dairy farmers have been quick to embrace smartphone technology to help them manage their businesses.
- Between 2012 and 2015, the number of dairy farmers who owned a smartphone jumped from 25 percent to 80 percent.
- In 2017, about 60 percent of dairy farmers had downloaded an app for their smartphone. Most popular were weather apps, closely followed by farmrelated apps.
- Between 2012 and 2015, the number of dairy farmers who used their phone for browsing the internet rose from 52 percent to 79 percent. In the same period, those using their smartphones for emailing and messaging rose from 70 percent to 90 percent.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy November 2017