•Smart farmers have changed from manual to digital record keeping
•Managing dairy records is a crucial aspect in good agricultural practices
Dairy farmers have been urged to keep proper records of their animals for maximum benefits.
Poor record keeping and lack of proper information are major setbacks affecting dairy farmers, an expert told the Star on Thursday.
Dairy champion Alex Gitonga urged farmers to change from manual to digital record keeping. He said farmers who keep manual records find it hard to analyse them and generate reports because of their bulky nature.
“These challenges in record management result in a loss-making venture as a result of low productivity, poor breeding, poor feeding and planning. It also becomes difficult for the dairy investor to access credit,” Gitonga said.
Those in the dairy sector know that managing dairy records is a crucial aspect in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), he said.
Gitonga is one of the brains behind SmartCow App, a mobile app that helps dairy entrepreneurs to track their cows' progress in real-time and maintain their inventories.
The application, launched last year, has helped farmers to improve efficiency and effectively keep records and information about their milk cattle.
SmartCow App is a cloud-based dairy management system and accessible from any device that has internet like mobile phone, laptop and tablet.
It allows farmers to register their herd details and monitor their daily activities.
The application sends alerts and notifications for activities that are due.
The activities include breeding dates like heat checks, pregnancy confirmation, drying, steaming, calving and health dates such as next deworming and next vaccination.
“The dairy mobile App monitor’s daily production, weight records, milk sales, feeding, calf growth, expenses and generates several reports that are very significant in decision-making,” Gitonga said.
“For a dairy consultant worth his salt, this data is critical when one is analysing the cow-signals; rumen fill, manure score, belly score, cud score, body condition score and cow comfort scoring.”
He said under SmartCow App, data is safe and automatically backed up, thus cannot be affected by the loss of the device used by the dairy investor.
Dairy ICT innovations could be integrated into digital weighing scales such that they are able to read automatically from Bluetooth-enabled weighing scales and send the data directly to the owner.
The mobile apps are able to give statistics of the farm’s performance within a period facilitating comparison and analysis and sending SMS notifications for any activity that is due in the farm.
“As the dairy farming transit into information-based consultancy, every dairy farmer should embrace dairy ICT innovations, such as the Smartcow App. By so doing, it would ensure maximum profits, effective management and gaining control of the entire enterprise,” he said.
To sensitise farmers on the innovation, SmartCow has partnered with several other stakeholders for an Exhibition and Trade Fair on June 12 at Dedan Kimathi grounds in Nyeri town.