Mobile business solution makes traceability easier, more affordable for farmers

By Lilian Schaer

Elora, Ontario – New data capture technology is making traceability and food safety risk management easier for Canadian beef, dairy, bison, goat and sheep farmers.

Go360 bioTrack, an initiative of AgSights, offers expanded data collection and management capabilities. It helps farmers track everything from livestock inventory numbers and animal movements to pedigree, reproduction, health, and body condition scoring information.

“We are using technology to take away headaches for people by making traceability and record-keeping simple,” explains AgSights General Manager Mike McMorris. “The latest version offers a lower cost entry point and some big improvements in terms of functionality.”

The base version that simply helps farmers keep track of their cattle inventory numbers is free. A small monthly subscription fee allows for tracking of animal movements from farm to farm or from farm to market, an increasingly mandatory requirement for Canadian livestock farmers.

Users can also add options to manage various aspects of reproduction and track weight and feet and udder scores. Go360 bioTrack can also manage health-related activity like tracking when vaccines and medications were administered – a key component of any on-farm food safety program – and email reminders about follow up treatments and withdrawal times.

A key feature is that the system can be used on all web-enabled mobile devices even when outside of cell range – one of the industry’s biggest challenges when working in rural areas where mobile and internet service can be limited. It also supports multiple users, allowing farmers to give system access to third parties like employees, veterinarians, feed nutritionists and lenders.

“Our clients can select the options and features that will be most helpful in their operations,” McMorris says. “And any activities can be applied in the system to groups of animals, a huge change over earlier versions that only allowed edits to individual animal profiles.”

The technology is part of a project led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies focused on building whole farm sustainability by connecting information flow from the farm to the table.

Related software connects the animal to the meat at retail. 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 to consumers.

“This will help farmers be prepared for where livestock industry is going in terms of verification programs, food safety and traceability,” believes McMorris. “It also provides a benchmarking ability for producers by letting them track their production goals easily and quickly.”

Support for this project was provided by Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Gay Lea, Sustainable Farm and Food Initiative, Ontario Sheep Farmers, and the Grand River Agricultural Society. This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Photo source: AgInnovation Ontario