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

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $42,563
Commodity: Beef Cattle
Organization: Flokk Systems Inc.
Investigator: Mark Olson

75% of cow/calf producers use pen and paper for their herd record keeping and management.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

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 its 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.

Digitization technology has been largely unrealized for cow/calf production. 75% 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.

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

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

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.

  • 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.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

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)

There will also be 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, online emulation of hand-held devices, training seminars and workshops, and engagement of and support for 4H clubs.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.