County Clare farmer Brian Kelly has recently received top marks in his Bord Bia Audit with the help of recording information through the Herdwatch app.
Since purchasing the Herdwatch app when it came out three years ago life has changed on the farm and he hasn’t looked back since.
Brian farms at Kilnaboy alongside his dad Timothy, with the help of his mother Mary, his wife Teresa, and their two children Jack and Layla.
“We breed bulls and heifers and sell them on to commercial and pedigree farmers in Ireland. Leana Limousins is the name of our herd, which consists of 40 pedigree limousine cows. The aim is to produce the best quality possible with the best star rating possible,” says Brian
He says that they are very lucky in that they purchased a bull two years ago and he is now ranked as one of the highest indexed pedigree bulls in the country and is in the top per cent for replacement and terminal within his own breed and across all breeds. “He is breeding fantastic calves and is very consistent,” says Brian.
For years the paperwork was a torment, according to Brian but they like to keep things in order
“Too often I would write something on a piece of paper and I would lose it. It was a nuisance. I heard about Herdwatch when it came out three years ago so I decided to give it a go and I haven’t looked back since,” he says.
Herdwatch has brought huge change to the Kelly farming life and has definitely made things more efficient.
“If you’re checking something on the farm, even a withdrawal or anything it’s there in your hand on your phone no matter where you are,” he points out.
Most of the decisions on our farm are made inside in the shed.
Brian and he father are always together going through the cows selecting them for culling or breeding and, he says, all they have to do is take out the phone in the shed and Herdwatch shows everything about the cows, when they were last in heat, when they were bulled, when they were last dosed, their age.
“When I have a customer coming into the shed, I don’t delay him, I can give him all the information about the heifer or bull right there on the phone. When you can physically show that to a customer it puts their mind at ease. They know that things are being run correctly and the cattle have been well managed,” says Brian.
The family recently had its Bord Bia Audit and got top marks.
“He was completely blown away with our records in Herdwatch. I myself am very meticulous, I record absolutely everything, even a single 25kg bag of meal won’t go astray around me. The best thing to do I think, is to record on the day you make the purchase, when you come back from the co-op or whatever take the first few seconds to record that into your phone, then it’s done, no more thinking about it,” says Brian.
Having a clean Bord Bia Audit really does stand to farmers. Farmers are always talking among themselves, so farmers will know that it’s not easy to get high marks in the Bord Bia Audit. It might seem like nothing but it does carry value. It creates awareness among farmers that things are being done right on the farm.
When a buyer comes into the yard and you have that Bord Bia stamp of approval. It’s worth a lot. It’s not just about getting your cattle into the factory it goes a lot further than that, he says.
“Going into the future, given that we have such a high index bull at the moment, we are hoping good things will come from that. He is breeding very high index heifers so the hope would be that we will produce some bulls in our own herd that we will put into AI. If you can come up with right bull and the right cow, you are away with it and we definitely have the quality. You will always keep pushing for more on the farm though, you will never be satisfied but I think that is a good thing,” says Brian.