Implementing Regular Benchmarking Reports for Daily Producers
The times have changed for livestock farming. To remain at the forefront of breeding superior animals with efficient production and outstanding quality, today’s farmers need to adopt a precision-farming strategy. This can only be achieved through comprehensive recordkeeping, a detailed breeding objective and a strict management strategy – if you deviate from the path in any way, you will be left behind.
In the dairy cattle industry, the switchover has been made easy with the availability and widespread use of integrated milking systems and easy-to-use computer software. Not only does it simplify administrative duties and recordkeeping, it also equips farmers with the ability to quickly and easily view and compare the performance of their herds, ensuring they are able to adjust course and remain on track with their production goals.
However, a major shortcoming in the use of an on-farm database is the inability to directly compare the herd’s production and performance to that of other herds in the breed. Without breed information, farmers are less able to gauge their own herds’ performance against the frontrunners in the industry.
The future of benchmarking To address this issue, SA Stud Book has developed an automated system. Farmers can opt in to a regular automated data dump that synchronises their farm data with Logix, SA Stud Book’s central database. Data that can be synchronised includes all new birth notifications and animal registrations, reproduction information, continuous milk production, as well as all animal cancellations. All that is required on the farm is a computer loaded with supported farm software and an internet connection.
Although many of the records are already collected on a routine basis, albeit manually, milk production has only been received from herds that actively participate in traditional milk recording. The new development allows farmers, who record milk production via their automatedfarm software systems, to partake in a central database and enjoy the benefits thereof. With the uptake of their data, participants will receive an in-depth management report that not only includes herd statistics presented in a user-friendly and easy-toread manner, but also provides invaluable benchmarking of the herd against all others in the breed.
This will allow farmers the rare opportunity of being able to quantify their progress, constantly fine-tuning and adjusting their strategy to ensure that they are meeting their own objectives and are remaining relevant within the industry – in essence, to practice precision farming. The newly developed system is currently in the final testing phase, after which it will be made available to interested parties.
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