The COVID-19 pandemic and related restriction measures have had a very different effect on milk recording systems around the world. Especially in the initial shock period in the spring of 2020, many organisations had to stop recording completely or in part of the recorded herds. This left the farmer customers without the breeding and management data they need in their daily lives. In countries with traditions in farmer-operated milk recording, the effect of the restrictions was very small and recording continued without disturbance.
Milk recording in Finland
In Finland, there already was a long tradition of farmers weighing or measuring yields when the idea first came in the mid-1970’s that some breeders could also handle the sampling without paid services. By 1995, the share of farmer-operated recording had risen to 90 % of all herds.
In a farmer-operated milk recording system, it is important not to demand doing things in an unnecessarily difficult way if an easier one exists. Even more crucial is that breeders understand they produce the data for their own use and advantage. Management decisions based on missing or erroneous data tend to be erroneous as well. Breeders must take responsibility for data quality, but that also requires that the recording organisation gives them the tools to do so. This is where Mtech has done a lot to make the ProAgria operated Finnish system work smoothly.
Finnish breeders receive a text message after each sampled recording, informing them that their yield reports are ready, and giving them a data quality assessment. The assessment is based on recording intervals, milk meter testing dates, and a comparison of recorded results with the volume and fat content of dairy delivered milk. This immediate feedback system was taken into use in 2015, and it has brought down data quality problems to a half when compared to the previous model where the assessment was done after completing the recording year.
Right tools make the work easier
Still, there is of course need for supervision and guidance. ProAgria runs a customer service whose employees monitor the situation on a dedicated web page, and contact breeders who have problems with sampling, data capture, or any other aspect of recording practices. Mtech is happy to provide the tools for making this possible.
If your organisation is considering to increase the possibilities for farmer-operated milk recording, you are welcome to further discussions with firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to know more about farmer-operated milk recording systems, please sign up for our webinar September 7th!