FARMING MATTERS: The smart way to manage a herd

Fullwood Packo MerlinInfo app
Fullwood Packo MerlinInfo app

There’s a lot of technology in farming these days and robotic milking parlours have been around for some time.

Now, one of the companies that manufacture automatic milking systems has launched a smartphone app, enabling diary farmers to remotely monitor the performance and functionality of the machines.

This, in turn, enables the farmer to make swifter and smarter management decisions to the benefit of herd productivity and their own work-life balance.

Fullwood Packo has created the MerlinInfo app to enable farmers to view real time and historical data of each cow’s milking records, or for the herd as a whole, from any location and at any time via a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection. Parameters such as milk yield, number and duration of milkings per day and time of last milking are easily accessible, with users also able to compare 10 day and 24 hour yield averages, thereby allowing them to measure productivity and make informed management decisions on a cow by cow or whole herd basis.

The app delivers a series of alarms and warnings to alert the farmer or herd manager of potential problems - either with the milking machine or an individual cow - and gives users easy access to the robot’s cleaning records and maintenance schedules, ensuring each MerlinInfo app is working as efficiently and hygienically as possible to safeguard milk quality and integrity.

I remember visiting a robotic milking parlour near Buckingham a few years ago, and the farmer told me it was connected to his mobile phone and he was immediately alerted if there was any problem with the machine. Now, it appears, the apps have become ever more sophisticated with increasing amounts of data available.

Rik Schoenmaker from Fullwood Packo said the new app provided added value to their range of smart milking and cooling solutions.

He added: “Feedback from existing MerlinInfo users is that the app will enable them to monitor, measure and maximise the performance of their robots as well as improving their work-life balance by giving them the flexibility to keep a close eye on proceedings even when they are away from the farm, thereby enabling them to work smarter, not harder.”