Congratulations to Niall Jeffrey of Bielgrange Farm in East Lothian on being named as a finalist in the Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year award for 2019.
Niall was shortlisted in recognition of his commitment to the continuous improvement of his business – something which is also a key driver of his partnership with Agri-EPI.
During his three years as an Agri-EPI Satellite Farmer, Niall has been trialling a variety of technologies, including the AFI Milk Silent Herdsman Collar for monitoring fertility and health and a quadcopter drone for aerial imagery of fields and stock. He is also involved in ongoing trials of the Ritchie Beef Monitor, a technology he believes has great potential.
The Beef Monitor is a weigh crate with an integrated water trough, allowing cattle from 350kg to finishing to be weighed every time they drink. It can be used indoors or with animals at grass.
Data can be automatically uploaded to the cloud or exported via Bluetooth, to allow viewing of weights by phone, PC or tablet as well as on the Monitor itself.
Software is currently being developed to analyse the data collected, producing alerts if an animal is underperforming or is nearing finished weight.
Before using the crate, Niall was weighing his cattle every three weeks in the run-up to finishing, a 1.5-hour process with EID tags, or a three-hour process without.
The £4,500 Beef Monitor offers Niall a more efficient and precise means of keeping track of animals that are nearing finishing, as well as those that are not performing.
The potential for the beef monitor is great. If you are a farmer who doesn’t weigh cattle in the run up to finishing, then to go from not weighing to using one of these is a huge leap, but it will help you hit the market spec.
We wish Niall luck in the awards, which take place on Thursday 3rd October at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.