Manage your business better
Programs like the PocketDairy Android App are not yet mainstream in the dairy industry, so some producers have learned to adapt general business apps for use on the farm.
“One example of how I use a non-dairy app is to access the office computer that has all the records on it,” says Ray Prock Jr. of Ray-Lin Dairy in Denair, Calif. “I can pull out time cards and take care of payroll. I can get production records. I can insert data remotely.”
Prock uses an app known as LogMeIn to accomplish this. Basically, he can gain remote access to the office computer from a mobile device like a personal digital assistant or his mobile phone, as well as a computer at another location.
Prock is a celebrity, of sorts, in the app world. A couple years ago he was featured in a YouTube video, “How a Dairy Farmer Uses Evernote,” an app that acts as a mobile dry-erase board, among other features.
“I use Evernote (to take notes on) everything from parts lists to meeting notes,” he says. “If I’m walking around (the farm) and I see something (that needs attention), I can send an e-mail to myself or I can open Evernote and make a new note on something that needs to be fixed, a random thought I have if I’m thinking about a meeting I’m going to, a presentation that I have to make at a meeting or anything that I need to collect my thoughts on.”
Here is the link to the Evernote video: http://myappsolution.com/blog/?p=85
Both Prock and Shockey use general agricultural apps to access the weather and news. Prock also uses an Android finance app to track commodity market and milk futures prices. (pFinance is the app he uses to check milk futures prices.)
Even dairy farmers in Africa are catching on to apps. An app called iCow is being used by smallscale dairy farmers in Kenya. A dairy farmer featured in an article about the app explains how using it has helped her better manage her cows and even double milk production.
As mobile app technology evolves here and around the globe, it holds promise as a tool to improve how you manage your cows and run your business.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A MOBILE APP
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you download an app for use on your dairy:
• Is it going to enhance my business procedures?
• Is it going to save me time?
• What type of security is deployed with the application? In the event that you lose or damage the phone, will you compromise or expose critical information? “Make sure that you have the appropriate security and security control in place,” advises Don Walborn with AgWare, an agricultural software company.
• How or where am I going to use this application? Remember, mobile phones are not built for external environments and may not be able to sustain wear and tear or harsh weather conditions.
• What level of tech support is available from the mobile application’s developer?
USE APPS TO CONNECT WITH EMPLOYEES
No need to fire up the computer or take a class to learn Spanish. Just pull out your smartphone and download a languagelearning app.
“A few minutes here and there throughout the day can be very effective,” says Gregorio Billikopf, farm labor management specialist with the University of California.
Billikopf has reviewed the features of three language apps. To learn more, visit dairyherd.com and type “Smartphone APPS: It is easier than ever to learn Spanish” into the Search box.
Editor’s Note: If you use an app that’s not mentioned here, we’d like to hear about it. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org