Utilising cloud-based technology to streamline farm operations in Lutterworth - Herdwatch.com



Utilising cloud-based technology to streamline farm operations in Lutterworth

Meg Ahern


| Feb 23, 2024

In 2013, Simon Deacon embarked on a significant career transition, shifting his focus from managing IT systems to taking the reins of the family farm, where he partnered with his parents. Rooted in the village of South Kilworth, Lutterworth, England, the Deacon family boasts a rich agricultural heritage spanning over a century. They currently oversee a diversified farming enterprise, encompassing 300 acres of permanent pasture and an additional 300 acres of arable land.

Simon Deacon - man in yard cattle in shed

Under Simon’s stewardship, the Deacons have strategically expanded their cattle inventory from 100 to 170, exclusively sourcing store cattle and discontinuing the rearing of calves on their farm. These cattle primarily comprise of dairy X breeds and are predominantly finished indoors on straw during the winter months. Simon ensures their optimal nutrition by utilising a diet feeder ration expertly formulated by Kelvin Cave, enhancing their growth and overall well-being.

In tandem with their bovine endeavours, the Deacons tend to a flock of 300 mule breeding ewes, meticulously bred with a Suffolk tup and slated to lamb in March. Post-lambing, these ewes are destined for sale at live weight in the local market, a testament to the Deacons’ commitment to quality and efficiency.

Three years ago, the Deacons transitioned to utilising a diet feeder, a move that has revolutionised their feeding practices, enabling them to provide a well-balanced diet primarily sourced from their own farm-grown feed. This includes crimp barley, beans, and a diverse herbal ley silage, underscoring their dedication to sustainable and self-sufficient farming practices.

Bolstered by the support of Severn Trent and ongoing soil health trials, Simon has spearheaded efforts to transition the arable side of the farm toward a regenerative approach. Over the years, the Deacons have implemented a rotational cropping system encompassing wheat, barley, flowering summer catch crops, winter and spring beans, along with diverse herbal leys covering one-fifth of their arable land. This strategic rotation not only optimises yields but also serves as a natural defense mechanism against blackgrass, a notorious invasive weed, exemplifying the Deacons’ commitment to environmental stewardship and agricultural sustainability.

Utilising Herdwatch to improve farm operations

Simon embarked on his journey with Herdwatch about eighteen months back, and ever since, he’s been leveraging the app to streamline and enhance farm operations. Instantly captivated by the seamless sign-up process, Simon found himself impressed. “Just get your BCMS details sorted, and you’re good to go,” he remarked, highlighting the effortless onboarding experience that Herdwatch offers.

When Simon sought out a farm management solution, Herdwatch stood out due to its cloud-based nature, a key priority for him. Reflecting on his decision to opt for Herdwatch, Simon confidently stated, “choosing Herdwatch was a no-brainer.”

Simon has discovered that Herdwatch is instrumental in his pursuit of maximising individual animal profit. Utilising the automated insights feature has been pivotal in this endeavour. One aspect Simon particularly appreciates is the kill sheet feature. With this feature, farmers can effortlessly upload images of kill sheets or other sales documents such as market and processor dockets directly to the Herdwatch app. Herdwatch then seamlessly extracts all pertinent information and integrates it into the animal’s profile. Leveraging this data, the automated insights feature offers a comprehensive visual representation and analysis of livestock performance within Simon’s account.

In addition to the kill sheet feature, Simon has also found creating groups to be incredibly beneficial for their farming operations. This functionality enables them to efficiently organise animals for various tasks such as selection for slaughter, thereby expediting these movements. Moreover, creating groups facilitates better management of animal distribution across sheds, providing valuable insights for optimal feeding practices. This meticulous attention to detail ultimately contributes to maintaining optimal weight and body condition for the animals.

Simon strongly advocates for fellow farmers to embrace cloud-based tools to ensure the success of their farm businesses. He emphasises the importance of leveraging technology to streamline operations and enhance efficiency. Simon’s recommendation to other farmers is to harness the power of cloud-based solutions, as they offer scalability, accessibility, and real-time data insights crucial for informed decision-making and sustainable farming practices.

“Farmers should continue to streamline their business to become more efficient by minimising costs and utilising cloud-based tools such as Herdwatch”.

You too can become more efficient by joining Simon, and the 21,000 other farmers, using Herdwatch today. Simply download the app now.

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