A flock management app devised by two financial professionals aims to make sheep records paperless and ready for the digital-reporting era.
The cloud-based FlockFinder is another option for sheep farmers wanting to link electronic identification (EID) ear tags with medical data and dosage information to monitor the health, treatments and performance of specific animals.
Developers say this will help farmers keep abreast of digital flock reporting as Defra rolls out its Livestock Information Service (LIS).
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The paid-for software is co-founded by James Stretton, a financial services project manager from a sixth-generation farming family on the Romney Marsh, Kent, and data scientist Tommy Neeld, formerly of accountancy firm Ernst Young and the London Stock Exchange.
The concept is that farmers can use the app in the field or collecting yard when working sheep.
The system has three plans available, each with unlimited users and treatment records:
- Smallholding: £10/month (plus VAT), up to 150 animals on one county parish holding
- Farm: £15/month (plus VAT), up to 1,000 animals on one county parish holding
- Estate: £45/month (plus VAT), up to 5,000 animals on up to three country parish holdings.
Mr Stretton said: “The company was founded on a mission to unlock the unrealised potential that technology can deliver to the livestock farming sector, increase the competitiveness of the industry and support the sustainability of farmers’ livelihoods.”
The app has been developed and road-tested with commercial farmers, he added.
Referencing a 2018 study, Mr Stretton said 80% of sheep farmers were yet to adopt technology and only 10% used smartphones to collect livestock data.
- Works on iOS, Android, PC and Mac
- Can access multiple holding numbers from one account
- Has a range of ready-made treatment reports to download for farm inspections
- Cloud-based means information cannot be lost if the device being used to record it is lost or broken
- Help farms meet regulatory reporting requirements
When talking to farmers at the development phase, the pair identified that a platform that could help farmers keep on top of their medical records was by far the most popular response.
It also needed to be easy-to-use, accessible on any device, and enable data to be shared across the farm.
Mr Stretton added: “Keeping accurate medical records is just the start – we continue to be guided by the industry on how to develop the platform.
“Online movement reporting, lineage tracking [to refine the flock] and direct livestock selling are all being requested, and we’re excited to see how these developments will help to evolve, and in some cases disrupt, the industry.”