FARM SMART: How a Cornwall farming couple manage to spend more time with their family.
| Jan 28, 2022
Kate and Kevin Hoare are full time dairy farmers in Tideford in South-East Cornwall and have been running their own farm business since January 2018. Kate told us “We are both from farming backgrounds, I grew up on my parent’s dairy farm and Kevin’s family are mainly arable, growing potatoes, corn and finishing cattle. We took on ‘Trenance Farm’ from Cornwall County Council farm and started in Dairy after transferring over my Dad’s contract with Arla and moving 30 of his milkers across.”
The milking herd currently consists of 100 British Friesian cows with 70 of them first-time calving heifers – “We are a dairy farm predominantly, but we are keeping our beef calves and selling them as store cattle.”
The couple, who have three children, farm in partnership together and have a part-time worker looking after four milkings a week to give them more time for family. “I mainly do stock work and Kevin does the tractor and field work. We have 134 acres here and rent a further 30 acres off-farm, 20 acres of that is a small-holding with a shed that we are currently keeping youngstock in.”
Kate and Kevin are dedicated to improving farm operations on Trenance with substantial investment since arriving to the farm – “We have done a lot in the short period since we have been here. We have installed a bore hole to help with water costs, the farm is entered into a mid-tier stewardship scheme, so we have fenced the whole external boundaries and installed water pipes and water troughs in every grazing field. We have also built a new dry cow shed, a workshop, a hard standing area for both machinery and round bale silage and two new clamps for both silage and maize.”
However, perhaps the most interesting new development on the farm is the biomethane slurry lagoon that was recently installed in partnership with Cornwall Council and a Cornish company called Bennamanns. “We are environmentally conscious of our farming activities, so a lot of our investment is geared towards sustainability. We installed a bio methane slurry lagoon so we can capture methane from slurry and convert it into liquid gas to use as a fuel.”
“The biomethane that manure contains is very valuable as it can be used to power a range of on-site activities and generate additional income for the farm business. This approach has additional benefits such as facilitating compliance with planned future regulations around slurry pit emissions and improving the overall environmental impact of the business.”
SAVING TIME ON FARM PAPERWORK
Kate and Kevin were finding themselves spending hours on paperwork in the evenings, so they decided to act one night when Kate went in search of a solution to their problem. “I googled dairy farm management app and Herdwatch came up – I had a look at various other apps and software, but I knew Herdwatch was the app for us. I signed up that night, it was really easy and I was up and running in a few minutes.”
“We use the app for everything from tracking medicines, registering calves & movements, breeding management, doing our reports and more…”
“It’s a super easy app to use. Herdwatch has streamlined our business, it means vet visits are quicker and much more efficient as I have the information to hand on my iPhone with all previous treatments for the cow!”
“Before Herdwatch, I would write all medicine and purchase records into the farm diary and then have to race against time to write it all up the night before an inspection. Since I started using Herdwatch, I just scan all medicines into the app as soon as I get them. They are then ready to use when I need them, nothing gets forgotten about and I can trust that everything I have inputted is correct.”
Kate also registers all calf births and cattle movements as they happen “It is super easy to register calves, it can be done straight away meaning no confusion over which cow had which calf or is it a bull or a heifer. Recording births and movements is so much more efficient with Herdwatch, I do it on the spot rather than writing it down in the diary and then forgetting about it or writing the wrong information down!”
Worrying about farm paperwork is a thing of the past for the couple as they can trust that everything is tracked and traced in the Herdwatch app. “The last inspection we had last summer was super easy! I pulled out the reports from the app in seconds and just emailed them onto the inspector! Before, I would have had to show him the reams of paperwork I would have written up, it was all very messy. Herdwatch has definitely made farm assurance and Arla inspections a lot easier.”
Balancing farming and a young family is not an easy task but Herdwatch has helped ease the workload on the couple and give back more time to spend with the children. “The biggest benefits for me are knowing all the paperwork is looked after, and the amount of time I save to get my evenings back to spend with the kids. I have recommended the app to several other farmers both beef and dairy, for me it’s a must have on any farm, I just love Herdwatch!”
Download Herdwatch today
The Herdwatch farm management app links with BCMS/CTS & APHIS (with a link to ScotEID also ready to go) to help farmers eliminate farm paperwork and make better decisions, you can also view your Milk Recording data from CIS & NMR with QMMS coming soon.
You too can join Kate & Kevin Hoare and over 15,000 other happy farmers saving time on farm paperwork and making better decisions – to find out more information or download the Herdwatch farm management app, go to www.herdwatch.com or call 02037732763 today.