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Ewe-nique Excellence: The Journey Behind Dini Ras

Katie Shanahan

| General | Sheep & Goats

| Jan 17, 2024

farm and dog in a goat field

Dini Ras’s steady demeanor, coupled with her extensive background in sheep management, makes her an amazing addition to the Herdwatch team. With considerable experience in the agriculture sector, she possesses an upper hand in combining the latest technologies with sustainable livestock practices. Dini’s journey began on a family farm in the Netherlands and has evolved into a flourishing business.

During the summer of 2023, Dini Ras and her partner, Dewalt, started a sheep farm in Alberta, Canada. With Dini’s entrepreneurial spirit and through hard work, she and Dewalt are aiming high. Their plans include implementing a pasture-based system to produce their own winter hay and expanding their current flock size to profitable numbers.

Currently, Dini and Dewalt are on a mission to create their lamb-topia. With 40 ewes, their goal is to have each ewe lamb out twice in the span of 3 years. Knowing it won’t be without its challenges, they hope to reach this goal to better their ewes productivity. With lambing season underway, Dini is busy keeping her shed heated with the current below freezing temperatures and monitoring pregnant ewes closely.

Herdwatch’s Sheep & Goats solution helps Dini build the lineage and history of each ewe and make breeding, as well as culling decisions. The ability to record changes in flock numbers, including births or deaths, helps Dini know exactly how many animals she has in her flock. Dini seamlessly integrates Herdwatch’s innovative solution into her sustainable livestock practices, embodying a commitment to precision and care. 

farmers in snow field of cows

Din’s objective is “to farm in harmony with nature, aiming for sustainability and profitability, while providing high-quality lamb and mutton to the Canadian market. [Their] pasture-based practices promote the well-being of [their] flock and land.”

Dini reveals the experiences that have led to her current position working for a livestock management software. She served as a goat herd manager in Saskatchewan for several years, initially in a seasonal role overseeing herds of up to 2000 goats. These goats played a crucial role in targeted grazing to control the spread of leafy spurge, an invasive weed found across the Canadian prairie. Dini’s commitment extended beyond the warm seasons as she continued through winter, overseeing the kidding process for 500 goats owned by a local patron. Dini had her hands full with these herds, as we all know, goats have a reputation for getting into trouble, often presenting ongoing challenges for farmers. Throughout her time on this project, she further developed her passion for sustainable and humane practices in agriculture.

Now, Dini works as a product researcher with Herdwatch. She gathers feedback and insights from both internal and external stakeholders. These insights are used to improve the Herdwatch experience or find new opportunities for the software to be better utilized. Dini also runs several Customer Advisory Board groups for different regions and products. This is a focus group of up to twenty farmers with whom she stays in close contact to get direct feedback and to pitch new ideas & concepts. They all meet online about twice a year with each group and have a WhatsApp chat to encourage continuous feedback. 

goats in a grass field

Side Note: Please contact Dini if you would like to share some feedback or participate in one of the Customer Advisory Board groups! You can reach her by sending a message through our website’s chatbot or directly communicating with us through the app in the message center! 

With her in-depth knowledge of sheep and goats, Dini can provide the team with valuable feedback. Her commitment to the app extends beyond the business mindset; it’s a dedication intertwined with her lifestyle. 

 

Herdwatch simplifies data management  

Dini shares that while in her previous position, “…as a goat herd manager, we were doing everything on paper during kidding season, and I, then, entered all that data into an Excel sheet. After having done that one year, and spending many, and I mean MANY hours on it, I asked my boss if we could get a livestock management program to keep our records in.” The softwares that she found in Canada were mainly desktop based and did not have a cloud based component making data sharing incredibly hard. Features such as what Herdwatch offers; easy-to-use, accessible data across multiple devices, and animal insights were unheard of at that time.  

grass and crops screen
sheep and goats screen
cattle and dairy screen

Herdwatch has taken the world by storm, making it to Buckingham Palace, available in over 170 countries and currently being used on the operations of over 21,000 producers. 

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