Improvements make livestock management software “Range Ready”

image002Improvements to a made-in-Ontario record keeping system for livestock mean farmers can now work with their herd records even when they’re not connected to the Internet. All they need is their phone.

The bioTrack software, developed by producer-owned co-operative BIO, lets beef, sheep and goat farmers easily capture and use pedigree, performance, health, movement and economic data on-farm.

Recent improvements have made it “range ready” which means the software is compatible with any Internet-ready smart device and will keep functioning even when that phone or tablet is offline.

“You no longer have to use any other hardware on your farm and you can access all of your information even when you’re out in the field with the cattle,” explains Betty Jo Almond from BIO. “When you’re offline, it keeps functioning as though you were connected and your device will sync all the information once you reconnect.”

The recent improvements also include a new responsive design that automatically adjusts to screen size and rotates as a device is moved, and a visual dashboard.

Farmers can now take photos of animals in the field or feedlot and directly upload them to that animal’s record in the database.

BioTrack holds information like animal movements, treatments, weights, health records, genetic evaluations, carcass data, and livestock identification. The software has been translated into Russian and BIO is working on getting it into other countries including Vietnam and various Caribbean nations.

The fee-for-service system is currently used in eight Canadian provinces and six U.S. states.

Connecting the animal to the meat in the grocery store is another piece of BIO-developed software.

BioLinks is a low-cost traceability and inventory management system for the meat business that tracks and manages data from the carcass on the processing line to the final package of meat sold at retail to a consumer.

It uses a small device that can turn an iPhone into a barcode scanner and links via Bluetooth to a printer and RFID tag reader.

All the gathered information can be evaluated to determine which animals offer the highest yield or saleable product. The system can also keep track of inventory and sales and a QR code with a link to information about the animal or farm of origin can be added to a consumer product label.

“BioLinks is beyond the farm but connects back to farm data and for me, that’s the most exciting thing about it,” says BIO General Manager Mike McMorris. “By using it, you can go from pedigree to consumer feedback in this system and the information will help you make better business decisions.”

Investment in bioTrack was provided in part through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation program (CAAP). Funding for CAAP was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; in Ontario, this program was delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

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