An agricultural team at Penn State has found a way to make the lives of dairy farmers a little easier and to help them save money in the process.
The College of Agricultural Sciences Penn State Extension team developed the application DairyCents, which allows farmers to view what feed costs each cow per day. The app serves as a “barometer” for farmers to look at the amount of money left at the end of the month after all the cows are fed, said Virginia Ishler, nutrition management specialist and dairy complex manager at Penn State.
“Penn State is on the cutting edge. There are very few dairy-related apps out there, and ours is the first to generate key information on the app itself,” Ishler said.
The College of Agricultural Sciences encourages its departments to peruse new technologies, Ishler said, and this app allows information to be at farmers’ fingertips.
“More and more dairy farmers are on the road, in the fields or at the farm, so they are not able to sit down at a desk and use a computer, but they always have their smart phone,” Rebecca White, senior project associate, said.
Although it has only been available for a month, 327 producers and consultants have downloaded the app –– 80 of which are from Pennsylvania, Ishler said.
Dairy nutritionists, farmers and teachers have expressed interest to White in using the app with their clients, as well as for educational purposes.
Penn State releases a feed price list monthly, and this is uploaded to the app so farmers can compare their costs to those in Pennsylvania, Ishler said.
“The app is a simple way to set up feed costs. Individual feed companies only track one set input and market value, but this app allows farmers to view more,” Extension Associate Rob Goodling said.
Currently, feed costs are only published once a month, but this app makes more current information available to farmers, White said.
Some farmers have already added their own feed prices, but Ishler said she hopes to build up a larger database so farmers have a larger basis of comparison for their prices.
The app blends daily and monthly numbers to give clean product price analysis, Goodling said.
As of now, DairyCents is only available for the iPhone, but Ishler said they are working on funding so they can expand to more platforms.
Similarly, White said they plan on continuing development and producing more apps in the future.