Three young boys from Wick High School in Caithness have launched an award-winning cattle management app.
The Cattle Manager app will allow farmers to manage their livestock information, something that app inventors John, Kieran and Ryan know plenty about.
John, who comes from a farming family, told the BBC, “With the past system you had paper floating around the place, but with our app the information is on hand the whole time when you need it. It keeps track of vaccinations, the dam and sire of every cow, the number of calves a cow has had, its age and all its import and export details.”
“The app also gives you reminders of what injections are due. It saves you having to look at the paper. It just comes up as a notification on the top of your phone. It just beeps at you and tells you you’ve got to give something an injection that day.”
Professionals at Apps for Good and Dell developed the functionality of the app but the credit for the idea lies fully with the three teenage school children.
It is just the latest step in an increasingly technical industry, with driver-less, satellite-guided tractors and other advances increasingly commonplace.
The boys hope that their app will help make farmers lives easier.
John said, “We keep the cattle’s records on paper in a cupboard in our house. You keep this until the day the cow goes off for slaughter or sale or whatever.
“We hope that in future we can put paperwork out of it totally and just have the information on an app, whenever you need it, and save running about the place.”
Ten farming apps for mobile and online
Firestone Type Pressure Calculator: This clever bit of tech developed by RNF Digital Innovation helps farmers work out the correct inflation of their tractor tyres. It has been downloaded nearly 30,000 times worldwide since its launch in 2011.
Cool Farm Tool: Launched just this year at the Farming Futures conference, Cool Farm Tool is an online greenhouse gas calculator that is free for growers to help them measure the carbon footprint of crop and livestock products.
farmGRAZE: One of three handy apps developed by MobileFARM Apps in conjunction with the University of Aberystwyth, farmGRAZE aims to cut costs and minimise waste while boosting growth and milk production by keeping on top of grazing levels for sheep, dairy and beef cattle.
farmMED: Another MobileFARM app, this one is designed to make life easier for farmers when it comes to keeping their medicine records up to date. It enables agricultural businesses to satisfy regulations regarding what medicines they give their animals, when they do so and and what withdrawal period may apply.
horseRATION: Similar to sister app farmGRAZE, horseRATION provides a means to keep track of just how much feed to be giving your horses, helping you keep them fit and healthy and cutting back overspends on excess food.
AgDNA: This Australian-based app was launched in May 2013 and is usable around the world. It claims to be the world’s easiest farming software, allowing users to track their vehicles, manage data, use satellite imagery to view their farm and compare their activities with competitors. It even works when there’s no signal.
Bayer Weed Spotter: This helpful app is available for iPhone and Android devices enables UK famers to identify suspect plants in their fields using its database of nearly 100 weeds commonly found in British crop fields.
Bayer Pest Spotter: Similar to the weed spotter, this helps farmers in the UK identify insects and infestations in their fields.
Pro Cattle Breeding: Available for Android and iPhone and suitable for dairy and beef cattle farmers, this app makes it easy to keep track of every aspect of the breeding season, from start to finish.
The Farming Forum: A veritable encyclopaedia of agricultural knowledge, members of the farming community share thoughts, ideas and news on the website, now available in app for your iPhone and Android device.