Research Project

Field validation of a producer focused cow/calf herd digitization solution (FLOKK)

“This technology will accelerate the adoption of digital tools for cow/calf herd management and traceability reporting in Alberta.”

How will this research help increase the competitiveness and profitability of Alberta’s agriculture industry?

Digitization technology has been largely unrealized for cow/calf production. Seventy five percent of cow/calf producers use pen and
paper for their herd record keeping and management. This project will complete field validation of a prototype solution that, by focusing first on the practical, animal side, needs and realities of Alberta cow/calf producers, will accelerate the adoption of digital tools for cow/calf herd management and traceability reporting in Alberta. By developing a digital production herd management tool, this technology will be able to bring many benefits to the Alberta agriculture industry:

• Improved management decisions from complete and current herd data.

  • Efficiency in animal handling from the elimination of manual identification of animals and hand written record creation.

• Access to export markets that demand detailed and authoritative traceability practices.

• Integrity of records that comes from replacing paper records (that are subject to physical loss) with redundant copies of digital data.

  • Capability to enhance and automate antimicrobial resistance management protocols.

Why did RDAR invest in this project?

Flokk Systems is a innovative Alberta based company that is poised to be a world leader in data management systems for challenging outdoor environments

Cow/calf herd management practices have historically, and for the majority of producers remain, paper based. A minimal record of cow or
calf identifier (i.e. hang tag), age, maternity, and description means the producers needs to track cow/calf pairing and multi-generational lineage to manage animal performance improvement. The Flokk digitization solution holds as it’s first priority providing a tool that will be rapidly integrated into established herd management operations at the animals side, rather than than the conventional office orientated information technology methods used by current market .offerings.

The solution integrates the herd management software with the hand held device used at animal side, eliminating the requirement for
transitory records (e.g. paper or smart phone) between animal side operations, cloud based herd management systems, and external data
recipients.

This project will bring the following benefits to our agriculture industry:

  • increased exports of Alberta beef products by facilitating the rigorous traceability and production management practices required
  • reduced cost to Alberta producers to comply with forthcoming Federal traceability regulations.
  • establish the core of an Alberta based ecosystem of organizations addressing data management systems for challenging outdoor
  • environments.

How will this project and its knowledge be transferred and shared with producers?

Knowledge transfer and education is a key requirement for the project’s ultimate success. Specific activities planned include:
• publication of a final report
• participation in industry trade shows and exhibitions

• media engagement
• continued proactive engagement with industry partners such as the Canadian Cattle Information Agency (CCIA)
• continued engagement with the Olds College Smart Farm Online provision of comprehensive familiarization and training resources to producers, including:
• written training and reference materials
• training videos
• on-line emulation of the hand held device
• training seminars and workshops
• engagement of, and and support for, 4H clubs