Extracts from Promar International’s recent report “The European Dairy Industry: Towards 2020” makes for interesting reading now that quotas have finally gone. Here are a few of the main points that relate to farm information technology.
Dairy farming in 2020 report – Trend to larger herd sizes
Promar state that UK average herd size was 123 in 2013 and predict this could rise to 191 by 2020. On a per farm basis, this trend means that there will be fewer people looking after more cows. Increasing use of sensors for monitoring cow health will enable animals to be treated as individuals so that production and welfare can be maximised.
But making sense of all this data would be pretty much impossible without the use of software to analyse it and present key reports and alerts to the herdsperson. When it comes to selecting dairy software, it would make sense to choose a solution that allows farm staff to access herd information on a smartphone or tablet computer.
Dairy farming in 2020 report – Shift in dairy farming systems
The report also predicts a rise in the number farms using the following types of dairy farming system:
- pasture-based, low input/low output systems
- high input/high output systems
The number of farms using a mixed system is predicted to show little or no change. When considering your farm software recording needs, it would be advisable to choose a solution that can produce management reports tailored for your particular system. Due to the prevalence of mixed or high input systems in the UK, there are relatively few farm software packages for dairy, which can both handle UK legislative recording and perform pasture management functions. We happy to say that the Orchid cloud software can handle these particular needs and much more! .
Dairy farming in 2020 report – The next generation take over
Promar’s study reports that across the EU, there are increasing numbers of well-educated young people returning to run family farms. Experience and knowledge gained from working in other industries or from university studies have shown them that the farm should be run first and foremost as a business and not just as a “way of life”.
They will know that to run a successful business – one that knows it’s costs and profitability – requires data. That data needs to be collected efficiently, accurately and converted to dairy management information without significant time lags.
Dairy farming in 2020 report – Personal Management
The report suggests that farmers should look at their personal strengths and weaknesses and concentrate on doing what they are best at, and areas of weakness should be covered by bringing in outside expertise. Getting the best value from a consultant means he or she will need access to your herd data. Cloud computing is ideal to meet these data-sharing needs. A modern dairy herd software in the cloud not only enables summary reports to be generated, but the consultant can access the “raw” data for more detailed analysis.
Dairy farming in 2020 report – Drivers and Constraints
When discussing the constraints on UK milk production, the report notes that while the UK has highly efficient dairy farmers who are good at what they do, too many are concentrated on farming the way they always have done. This is at the expense of listening to the needs of the market and maximising profitability.
At Orchid we know that there are milk producers out there who have yet to embrace the full power of information technology that will help them better understand how their dairy businesses are performing.
Some farmers still have the idea that information technology means sitting hunched over an office computer, swearing and cursing because they find the report they need or the latest upgrade won’t install. With a modern, cloud-based dairy management solution, there’s no software to install and your data can follow you outside – the place where farmers can best focus their skills.
If you would like to know more about Orchid’s cloud computing software for dairy farming, simply call us on 01536 443300 – you’ll find us friendly and approachable. Our software offers full “access anywhere” functionality and can be tailored for all types of dairy system, including pasture-based dairying.