Yes, There’s an App for Farm Animal Care

By Kristen Kelderman, Farm Animal Care Coordinator, Farm & Food Care

The days of carrying a notepad around the farm still exist, but there’s a new kid in the barn and field that carries a lot more functionality than a farmer’s well-worn pad of paper.

Farmers love technology and have embraced it willingly, from GPS-equipped tractors, to radio frequency eartags, to robotic milking machines. Maybe some generations have adopted it faster than others, and certainly some forms more than others, but farming and technology go hand-in-hand.

Thinking back to where mobile tech was just a few years ago when I picked up my first cell phone. I was a late bloomer for a millennial. I distinctly remember a conversation with my dad about texting that went something like this…

“Why would you text anyone? If I want something I’m going to pick up the phone and talk to a person. Who needs texting?” My siblings and I just shook our heads thinking that dad will never get it.

Fast forward to today, most of my communications with dad are through text messaging. We kids had it wrong. Now dad sends me pictures from the farm, uses abbreviations like lol (properly!) and populates his messages with emojis. And I love it.

Usually he has a newer phone than me, carries it everywhere with him and is always asking me if I’ve downloaded the latest app. But the guy doesn’t use Facebook. Or that tweetagram thing, as he calls it. But, like many other farmers, he recognizes that some apps have made farming more innovative, efficient, informed, and sometimes even easier.  

IMPACT 2Whatever you can dream up, there is probably an app for that. And now with Farm & Food Care’s IMPACT program there’s an app for animal care information.

Accessing info on animal care has never been easier from the barn, field or beside the chute.

The multi-species app offers information on euthanasia, procedures, handling, transport and other general care. Videos, articles, decision trees, loading density calculator are all at your fingertips and in your pocket. It’s not your grandpa’s factsheet!

Don’t want to read an article or watch a video on your phone screen? You can email it to yourself and watch it later. You can also bookmark what is important to you and share it between your employees, colleagues, and fellow farmers.

The app is available for download for Apple and Android devices, and is free. Have a new employee starting on your farm? Use it as part of your training program or implement it into on-going training.

Download it today. If you don’t have a smart phone, not to worry. IMPACT resources are available online by visiting www.farmIMPACT.ca.

Technology can be great but if you regularly experience a slow internet, let the Farm & Food Care office know. A USB stick with videos and content can be sent to your farm. There are options, no matter your circumstances.

Regardless of how you prefer to access information today — apps, websites, carrier pigeons — there is no doubt that we live in the age of endless information and technology has played a large roll in this. Farmers know the value of continually learning the best practices for today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

Barn fires are devastating to all involved

By John Maaskant, chicken farmer and chair of Farm & Food Care Ontario

barn fire 4a

Stock photo

There have been a lot of news stories lately about barn fires in Ontario. Without exception, the stories have been tragic and the incidents devastating to these farm families in so many ways – with the loss of animals being at the very top of that list. Often, a barn fire affects an entire community with neighbours joining together to support each other and help clean up the terrible aftermath. Economic concerns, while very real, are always secondary to the loss of farm animals that these farmers have raised and nurtured.

And it doesn’t matter what type of farm animals are involved. The dairy farmer who milks his or her barn full of cows every morning and night – and knows each of their individual traits – is as emotionally affected as a pig farmer, horse owner or chicken farmer like me. Continue reading

Methodical motions make moving dairy cattle easier

By Matt McIntosh

3K6A6122If you’ve ever had a large dog as a pet, you know how frustrating it can be to move it somewhere it doesn’t want to go, or do something it doesn’t particularly want to do. Indeed, getting it to stand still for even a moment when other dogs are afoot, just as an example, can be downright strenuous.

Now imagine if that dog weighed about 1,300 pounds. That’s the size of an average dairy cow, and as any dairy farmer knows, cows don’t always want to cooperate either. But just like dogs, dairy cows will go where you want and when you want if the right methods are applied.

“Animals learn the same way, and dairy cattle are no different,” says Dr. Don Hoglund, an expert on dairy stockmanship the facilitator of a recent workshop series for Ontario’s dairy farmers.

“Successfully controlling their movements starts with understanding their behaviour.” Continue reading

Inside Farming: Want Safety? Think Milk!

The process behind clean Canadian milk from the farm to the processor

By Chloe Gresel, CanACT member, University of Guelph

Many steps in place on Canadian dairy farms to ensure milk is kept clean, safe and nutritious from teat to glass.

Many steps are in place on Canadian dairy farms to ensure milk is kept clean, safe and nutritious — from teat to glass.

Every year, I visit the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to show my heifer, and part of this experience is talking to the

cab drivers while I travel to and from the grounds and the hotel. This year, I got into a great conversation with a cabby about why he buys organic milk. He said that he feels safer giving his children organic milk to avoid the hormones and antibiotics in milk. The impression left on me from this conversation was, “how can anyone feel unsafe drinking any sort of milk in Canada?” You see, Canadian milk is one of the safest things you can buy in the stores to drink. All Canadian milk is 100 per cent free from artificial hormones and antibiotics. In fact, the only thing that is in Canadian milk (besides milk) is vitamins A and D which, by law, have to be added. So, how is milk so safe? Let me tell you! Continue reading

From farm accident to Paralympic victory

By: Patricia Grotenhuis, sixth generation farmer

Darda Sales loves the sense of freedom swimming gives her

Former Paralympic swimmer and current National Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team player Darda Sales is active, athletic and confident.  She is also an amputee from a farming-related incident.

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Remember safety practices when farm equipment rubber hits the road

Guest blog by Larry Davis, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Slow-moving farm equipment on roadways can present significant challenges for both motorists and farmers, particularly at this time of year. As Ontario farmers rush to bring in the harvest in good weather conditions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages farmers to review road safety practices.

While farm equipment is permitted on roadways at all times of year, it is a more common sight during the busy harvest season. Motorists who are unaccustomed to encountering farm equipment on the road are often unprepared to safely follow slow-moving tractors towing large, specialized pieces of equipment such as combines and grain wagons.

The OFA reminds farmers there are specific rules farm equipment operators are required to follow to keep our roads safe. For example, drivers must be at least 16 years of age and all farm equipment drivers should practice a “no riders policy.” Farm vehicles must yield half the roadway to oncoming traffic, they must be properly lit, and operators must signal turns. Farm vehicles should be driven on the travelled portion of the road, because road shoulders may not support the weight of farm equipment. And remember tractors and farm equipment still follow the rules of the road, and that means no cell phones while driving.

It’s always good practice to keep your lights on when travelling roadways – especially around dawn and dusk. And every tractor, combine or towed implement must display a slow moving vehicle sign to warn motorists that the vehicle will not reach highway speeds. But with proper signage comes some hefty rules: equipment displaying a slow moving vehicle sign is limited to a maximum speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour. Equipment often requires operators to travel at lower speeds because wide turns and heavy loads make it difficult to stop quickly or turn easily on roadways.

Let’s put farm safety first this harvest season. The OFA encourages everyone – farmers and motorists – to consider road safety practices when farm equipment travels on roadways. On behalf of the OFA, we wish farmers a safe and profitable harvest season.

Remember safety practices when farm equipment rubber hits the road

Guest column by Larry Davis, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA)

Slow-moving farm equipment on roadways can present significant challenges for both motorists and farmers, particularly at this time of year. As Ontario farmers rush to bring in the harvest in good weather conditions, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) encourages farmers to review road safety practices.

While farm equipment is permitted on roadways at all times of year, it is a more common sight during the busy harvest season. Motorists who are unaccustomed to encountering farm equipment on the road are often unprepared to safely follow slow-moving tractors towing large, specialized pieces of equipment such as combines and grain wagons.

The OFA reminds farmers there are specific rules farm equipment operators are required to follow to keep our roads safe. For example, drivers must be at least 16 years of age and all farm equipment drivers should practice a “no riders policy.” Farm vehicles must yield half the roadway to oncoming traffic, they must be properly lit, and operators must signal turns. Farm vehicles should be driven on the travelled portion of the road, because road shoulders may not support the weight of farm equipment.  And remember tractors and farm equipment still follow the rules of the road, and that means no cell phones while driving.

It’s always good practice to keep your lights on when travelling roadways – especially around dawn and dusk. And every tractor, combine or towed implement must display a slow moving vehicle sign to warn motorists that the vehicle will not reach highway speeds. But with proper signage comes some hefty rules: equipment displaying a slow moving vehicle sign is limited to a maximum speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour. Equipment often requires operators to travel at lower speeds because wide turns and heavy loads make it difficult to stop quickly or turn easily on roadways.

Let’s put farm safety first this harvest season. The OFA encourages everyone – farmers and motorists – to consider road safety practices when farm equipment travels on roadways. On behalf of the OFA, we wish farmers a safe and profitable harvest season.

www.ofa.on.ca

Power's out!

 by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Storms have always filled me with awe.  I love sitting, safe and secure, in my house or in the barn while the wind howls around us,  snow or rain coming down with no end in sight.  There is always one big fear with storms, though:  what if the power goes out?

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Safety on the farm

by Patricia Grotenhuis, lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Being on a farm is a great experience and has many benefits.  Anyone living on, working on, or visiting a farm though should remember the dangers that can exist. Continue reading