May 24, 2022
Managing a dairy farm isn’t easy, so surely technology can come to the rescue. In the same way as the rest of our lives, dairy managers are becoming addicted to our smart phones, to our Apps. Weather, news, dairy data, profits. These are all important, but which ones are the top farms using? What are the 'must have' Apps?
I posed that question to nearly 100 of the top U.S. dairies to get a snapshot of what they have downloaded onto their smartphones or other mobile devices. Not surprisingly, the first Apps they mentioned are like those we would find on the general public’s devices, so I have specifically chosen the ones that relate to managing the dairy.
These are the 5 Apps most mentioned by the producers I contacted
1. Farm Profitability – Winner ‘Zisk App’
Zisk is the simplest App to tell you in less than a minute how your farm is doing today, and how it will do over the next 12 months. According to Zisk they have almost 3 million cows on their free App for iPhones or Android devices.
2. Dairy farm data – Winner ‘VAS’
Valley Ag Software (Dairycomp) is the most widely used App in the US, covers 60% of the herds, and reports on overs 4 million cows in the US. There are lots of new entrants in this market (see article ‘Is Dairy Data the New Oil’) as but half of the producers who replied to me said they had it downloaded on their smart devices.
3. Weather – Winners ‘Wunderground’, Apple Weather
Not surprisingly weather features heavily in the concerns of many dairies, so having an App on your phone to tell you what’s coming next is very attractive. While most dairy news services allow for weather prediction the one click feature of a weather App is attractive to producers.
4.Market News – Winner ‘CME’
CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) is the world’s largest and most diversified agriculture derivatives marketplace and as such allows dairy products to access the pricing of dairy futures and options, in real time. Decisions about what prices for inputs or dairy to lock-in in a world of Covid, the Ukraine War, China’s commodity purchases and weather changes that could be the difference between making or losing money in milk production most years.
5. Translator – Winner – Google Translator
As increasing numbers of workers on the farm are native Spanish speakers, or indeed other languages, it is not surprising the popularity of these translation Apps. Increasingly the working language on the farm might be Spanish but in case the managers or owners don’t speak the language an App is a great way to solve the problem. Look for some entrepreneur to start an App with Dairy specific translations, a great business opportunity.
What else? WhatApp is the majority choice for messages and group discussion with other producers, and it cuts through the mess of emails and traditional mail. Producers said they get their news from a range of options, Fox, CNN, Wall Street Journal and Twitter being most mentioned. The ability to see all of the computer screens on the farm on your smartphone is available through Teamviewer or Splash streamer. Milk tank monitoring was mentioned through Milk Secure and manure pit checks through Parallels. Farms using specific technology on the farm such as sensors, robots, and cameras of had Apps associated with the provider; Cainthus was the most often mentioned for this.
The most surprising? One farm mentioned using MobilePatrol, another free App which promotes its ability to keep you safe through connecting communities with law enforcement, making background checks easier, but doubles as a way to track your employees records even after hiring – so that you know if someone in your team has had an issue with law officers as soon as it happened!
So Apps have taken over the world, why not your dairy? Chose the one that works best for you, and if you think I’ve missed one please let me know. Email me at email@example.com