A handheld device is helping dairy farmers to record the breeding of more than 2.5 million milking cows.
In a first for the artificial breeding (AB) industry, Livestock Improvement's AB technicians will use the dataMATE - a customised version of the Psion Workabout - to record AB matings on Kiwi dairy farms this spring.
The New Zealand Dairy Board subsidiary has bought more than 800 of the devices from the supplier, Pocket Solutions of Lower Hutt, adding to 300 units that were used during pilot tests.
Livestock Improvement chief executive Stuart Gordon says the handhelds will make records more accurate.
"Traditionally our AB technicians have kept paper copies of matings. DateMATE will mean that our AB technicians will electronically transmit insemination information from the dairy farm direct to [Waikato head office at] Newstead - shortening the flow of information from one week to less than a day," he says.
Such mating records have been kept at Newstead since artificial inseminations started in the 1950s.
Development of the electronic transfer of mating information began in 1996 when Livestock Improvement began trialling various devices, and over four years Pocket Solutions worked with Livestock Improvement to refine the product.