This Fall AGSI celebrated the harvest and Ontario Agriculture Week with several festivities, the highlight being an all-staff visit to Gilbrea Farm in Hillsburgh, ON
The purpose of the visit to this very special cow-calf operation: knowledge transfer. AGSI staff including systems analysts, developers, management, and non-management had a first-hand look at how Go360™ bioTrack™ technology is applied to the business of farming.
Go360™ bioTrack™ is the result of a development partnership between BIO and AGSI. AGSI brings its Go360 technology that has been utilized in many industry sectors such as electric utilities, oil & gas, telecommunications, government, and law enforcement. BIO worked hard in the partnership to build an intellectual bridge between AGSI’s development team, hand-held technology and their clients. Mike McMorris and his Go360™ bioTrack™ team were at Gilbrea Farm to share their insight with AGSI’s Go360™ bioTrack™ development team.
Bob Wilson, along with nephew Joe and daughter Katie operate an impressive cow-calf operation in beautiful Wellington County. There are three generations of their family currently involved in the operation of the farm. Bob led the way and gave an interesting synopsis of the history of his family’s farm relating it to development of the beef industry in Ontario.
Although Bob, Joe and Katie each have specific roles in the operation, they are all on the same page in terms of how the farm is managed - starting with a special focus on record keeping. They are sold on the benefits of having information that assists in almost every decision made on the farm, at their fingertips.
In the farming business the life of cattle is broken down into a series of “events”. These events range from breeding, calving, weighing, vaccinations, movement of cattle from one location to another, and the purchasing and selling at market, just to name a few. Data, during all of these events, can be captured using Go360™ bioTrack™, in connected or disconnected mode, or online at the end of the workday.
The AGSI team were able to test out the Go360™ bioTrack™ application in real-time to capture yearling weights on their hand-held devices while Joe and Katie demonstrated how they weigh their cattle and discussed the reasons for capturing weights.
The AGSI team learned about calving and the development of newborns into their first year. Bob spoke of data captured at birth such as type of birth, date, calf’s weight, sex, colour, location of birth, etc. An ear tag number is created linking the calf to bloodline information of the dam and sire. Vaccinations and any treatments are also recorded, and lastly weaning information is captured later in the calf’s life.
All captured data is run against the database within Go360™ bioTrack™ to produce Genetic Evaluation reports that identify which are the better animals to keep as parents of future generations. Farmers care about calving ease, birth weight, pre-weaning weight gain, fat cover, and rib eye area. These traits are used to help provide a better product as well as ensure a better bottom line for the farmer.
Throughout the farm tour Bob and his family demonstrated their dedication to record keeping but also how it applies to best management practices, herd health and welfare, and business performance. Like two worlds colliding AGSI staff, mainly techie, city folk, gained a lot of insight into how, mainly aggie, country folk successfully use the tools they built.
Our final lesson learned of the day… capturing this information is important for performance of each farm and is critical for reducing food safety risks and improved traceability in the case of an outbreak – which benefits all.
All in all, the day was a very insightful and the Go360™ bioTrack™ development team gained valuable knowledge on how the farming industry collects and uses data to make better business decisions. BIO and AGSI are committed to bringing improvements to the farming industry and the team will use this latest knowledge as Go360™ bioTrack™ evolves.
AGSI would like to extend special thanks to Bob, Joe, and Katie of Gilbrea Farms for hosting and organizing this fun, interesting and informative team building event.
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