Tesha and Bryan are equity partners operating their leased farm near Rotorua. They’re enthusiastic supporters of online and hand-held technology, from engaging with social media to recruit new staff, to using a variety of apps to help them farm more efficiently. Finding staff was once a time-consuming process, but Tesha says listing jobs on their farm’s Facebook page has widened the pool of likely candidates.
“When we list jobs on Facebook, I share it on other farming sites as well, so we generally get applicants from all over the country and a lot from overseas.”
The Gibsons manage a host of farm tasks using apps, some free and some they pay for. They also have a restricted-access farm website, where the farm team can check operating procedures, update contact information and read the policy manual. Health and safety information is also kept online.
Apps in action
Here are just three examples of technology the Gibsons are currently using on-farm:
- Online software is used for recording milk temperature in the vat and monitoring milk volumes. The same programme also records fuel and water use. When a pre-set fuel volume is exceeded, a message is sent to Bryan’s phone. This recently helped to catch a thief and the yard’s security camera recorded the culprit in action.
- Herd management tasks are captured on a Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) web-based herd management system and Minda, which is used to record calving, heifer-tagging and pasture-walk information.
- A drone comes in handy for checking the springer mob, shifting stock at the runoff and checking for water leaks.
Benefits in record time
Using apps allows the Gibsons and their staff to add to information and access it easily online. As well as the examples above, they’re using apps to:
- record hazards
- make farm supply shopping lists
- list maintenance tasks
- measure paddock and break sizes accurately
- provide an online farm calendar.
The Gibsons also use DairyNZ’s most popular farming resource app, 'Facts & Figures'.
“The Facts & Figures app is handy when you need to look up things like growth information for young stock, feed intake requirements and other things,” says Tesha.
“Tech is your friend. We’re constantly looking at improvements and finding ways to work smarter. We don’t adopt apps for the fun of it: they have to make logical sense and add value.”
DairyNZ’s Facts & Figures app is jam-packed with useful content. Check it out at dairynz.co.nz/factsandfigures
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy September 2018