Reflecting on why and how we need to future-proof our farms with technology
After a tough few years for everyone and only being able to catch up with old friends, and new, through the wonders of technology, it was only fitting that our first excursion out was to a meeting about integrating technology into farming.
Although we were all playing it down, you could feel the sense of excitement to be meeting in person. We were huddled in a cold shed, on the side of a wet West-Highland hill. Meanwhile, we talked enthusiastically about what technology we use, but more surprisingly, what technology people aren’t using and why.
Personally, I’m very lucky to manage Carbeth Home Farm. I have a very forward thinking owner who embraces technology and believes strongly in investing in the future. We have built up an impressive array of technological ‘toys’ that have become imperative for us. We rely on them for the data capturing and performance recording of our flock.
The meeting was hosted by SRUC on one of their very impressive research farm in Crianlarich. It is beautifully situated in the Highlands of Scotland, with impressive views over rolling hills. Although attendance was good and it was surprisingly lacking, considering the many farms that shape the surrounding area. And the fact it is a topic that is vital to the future of farming. There was the total spectrum of those that had exposure to, and experience of, different hardware and software demonstrated. Certainly, some attendees that no idea at all.
It was great to share my story and give confidence to those who were sceptical about the financial investment in technology. And to take on these new ways of working.
We are scared of change
It’s no secret that livestock farming has its growing challenges. This is not only within the public eye. It is managing and financially sustaining a profitable business while complying with the ever growing demands of legislation and red-tape. Indeed, I have first hand experience of what technology can do for increasing the bottom line. Also for increasing efficiency within flock performance. And the speed and accuracy by which to do administrative tasks. The clarity and confidence you gain from being able to have all your documentation in order is emancipating. From medical records, birthing, weight gains, the inevitable deaths and movements… They are no longer boxes and folders, or dog eared paper and post-its discoloured by what ever has been on your hands that day. They become valuable, accessible and reliable vaults of information at your fingertips when you need it most.
Reasons why we don’t embrace change more readily
Confidence, lack of support, lack of experience and poor compatibility were all legitimate reasons that farmers of all generations suggested for reasons not to use technology, however. They are reluctant to embrace what was on offer and fully appreciate the benefits what technology can do. There is frustration and vulnerability on show was clear. Therefore, it is something that a lot of the companies that market these products must overcome to truly help the industry move forward and adopt this inevitable change in how we operate.
Let technology revolutionise the way you work
In short, my endorsement for AgriWebb borderlines that of someone on commission. However it’s my true belief that it is a market-leading product. It that revolutionised how we manage the data that we gather and how we can tailer this to our needs. The ability to support customers through an online Academy and the availability of phone or chat support is brilliant. It needs to become an industry-standard across all platforms. All livestock management app companies must continue to grow and adapt to the needs of the end-user. Especially as our industry continues to change.
Lastly, I hope that we are able to see farming enterprises of all shapes and sizes adopt more technology. This will help future proof the farming industry and move into a new age of efficiency and productivity.
Ready to use technology on your farm?
Whether it is mapping your farm or improving your record keeping, you can get a demo of how AgriWebb works by getting in touch here.
Lawrence is the Farm Manager at Carbeth Home Farm in Stirlingshire, Scotland. He became an industry champion at the Lantra Awards after studying at Oatridge College in West Lothian. He has a particular passion for technology and using it to drive sustainable and efficient business practices within the livestock industry. You can follow Lawrence on Twitter