Farming Instagram Star Boosts Flock Performance with Flockwatch
| Jul 14, 2023
Nicola Wordie, a dedicated farmer at the age of 24, is actively involved in managing her family farm located in the picturesque region of North East Scotland. With a strong passion for agriculture and a deep-rooted family history in farming, Nicola has taken on the responsibility of running the farm alongside her parents on the approximately 1400-acre upland farm.
The Wordie farm operates a diverse system that includes a flock of around 850 Scotch Mules and 40 pure Texel sheep, primarily for tup replacement. Lambing season begins with Texels indoors in mid-February, followed by early mules, and the main outdoor lambing starting at the end of March. Nicola’s priority is to raise top-quality stock that meets market grades. All lambs are finished on grass and mother’s milk, with sales starting in May and concluding by September.
Additionally, the farm maintains a herd of 240 suckler cows, predominantly Simmental X and Limousin X, with split calving occurring in both spring and autumn. The spring cows are wintered outdoors before coming inside for calving in February, while the autumn cows calf outside on hill ground and then come indoors from November for the winter. All calves are sold as stores at 10-12 months of age through a local mart.
In recent years,the Wordie family have implemented several renovations and improvements on the farm. The installation of feed silos has been a valuable investment, reducing feed wastage and contamination while saving space and time. This upgrade has significantly reduced physical labor, eliminating the need to manually handle heavy bags multiple times a day.
Embracing technology, Nicola also introduced an automatic milk machine for feeding pet lambs. Adopting this approach allowed every third lamb to be removed, enabling ewes to rear twins.
The result has been improved lamb growth and more even finishing, as well as enhanced ewe fertility with fewer singles and more twins in subsequent breeding seasons.
Another significant improvement is the acquisition of a handler unit which has revolutionized handling procedures in terms of reducing physical labor and stress on the ewes.
Nicola recognizes that careful attention to detail and cost control are essential for business success.
“I think its very important to focus on looking after the small matters and control costs.”
By consistently addressing small matters and monitoring key performance indicators, such as the percentage of ewes tupped at scanning, the number of lambs born, and the number of lambs sold as fat by weaning time, Nicola ensures the farm’s profitability.
Showcasing the highs and lows of farming through Instagram
Beyond the farm, Nicola has found a platform to share her farming journey and educate consumers about agriculture through Instagram. She started her Instagram account livestock_farmher in January 2021, motivated by the desire to combat negative perceptions and misinformation surrounding farming. Nicola’s passion for the industry and her commitment to transparency resonated with her audience, and her account quickly gained traction.
“I started my Instagram in January 2021. I was in two minds for about six months prior if I should do it or not. It was around the time when farming and agriculture was getting hit badly with bad press and a lot of false information was being shared. I have a big passion for farming and educating consumers about our industry.”
The turning point for her Instagram presence came in October 2021 when she was nominated for “Countryfile’s Countryside Champion” award. Although she did not win, the exposure resulted in a significant increase in followers overnight.
Nicola’s intention with her Instagram account is not solely to amass a large following but to share her story and provide an honest portrayal of farming life. By showcasing the highs and lows, she aims to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, promoting a better understanding of where our food comes from and the high welfare standards upheld in the industry.
“I feel it is so important now more than ever to share where our food comes from and at the highest welfare standards. I want to help bridge the gap between farming and consumer.”
Enhancing Flock Performance and Saving Time with Flockwatch
Nicola has been utilizing the Flockwatch app for almost a year now to optimize her flock performance and save valuable time. Among the array of solutions available to sheep farmers, Flockwatch caught Nicola’s attention as a standout choice due to its tailored phone-based application that precisely caters to their unique needs.
“Setting up Flockwatch was a breeze. We simply scanned all our ewes and shared a document containing their tag numbers with the Herdwatch team, who promptly uploaded them onto the app for us!”
A prominent advantage of employing Flockwatch is its remarkable ability to streamline the process of purchasing medicines and recording treatments.
“I now input purchased medicines straight into the app, ensuring they are readily available when needed. Previously, everything was done on paper, usually resulting in delayed documentation.”
Nicola finds it incredibly convenient to promptly record deaths, ovements, and other crucial information. eliminating the need to capture pictures of tags and subsequently remember to document them. This feature not only enhances efficiency but also ensures accurate and up-to-date records for the farm.
When it comes to farm inspections, Flockwatch proves invaluable. It empowers Nicola to effortlessly generate comprehensive reports on deaths, sales, medication, and more.
“Previously, we had to search for and compile various paper records, but now everything is conveniently stored and easily accessible on the app. This not only saves time but also reduces paper usage, benefiting the environment.”
Flockwatch has genuinely revolutionized Nicola’s farming practices for the better. The app’s user-friendly interface and accessibility have motivated her to maintain more up-to-date and accurate records. Its impact is particularly noticeable during lambing season, where the app’s swift and intuitive interface proves invaluable.
“Flockwatch has changed the way we farm for the better. Its modern, its so simple to use and its always there. It encourages you to keep records more up to date and accurate.”
Impressed by the numerous advantages of the app, Nicola enthusiastically recommends Flockwatch to other farmers. Its user-friendly interface, time-saving features, and comprehensive record-keeping capabilities make it an invaluable tool for sheep farmers seeking to enhance efficiency and accuracy in their operations.
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