CASE STUDY

On-the-go record keeping at White Pond Farm

White Pond Farm, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxon started out on 10th December 1937 with a rundown farmhouse and 120 acres of land in very poor condition.

Over the years the tenancy had been passed down through the Stracey generations and it is now run by Simon and Lindy Stracey and their daughter Tora with the help of Ken who has worked at White Pond for 50 years.

White Pond now consists of 520 acres, rented from five different landlords, 290 of these are down to grass which is grazed by the suckler herd consisting of 80 Aberdeen Angus and Belgian Blue cows. Tora Stracey says “the majority of the herd calve in the spring and their progeny are reared and fattened and eventually end up at Waitrose“.

The Stracey’s gave up the dairy herd in 2003 and converted an old cow shed into 2 self-catering holiday lets in addition to the farmhouse wing. It is the beef that is the primary source of income, followed by the property lets that Lindy looks after, and then the crops, although most of the cereals grown are fed to the beef herd.

As Tora became more involved working with her dad, she wanted the family farm to use computers for managing the cattle and the accounts. Tora says “I looked at Farmplan software and one other software provider, I chose Farmplan because I thought it was a much better package, the programme is well thought out and so simple to use“.

Since purchasing Farmplan’s Cattle Manager software program, Tora has seen many benefits that have helped her to manage the herd at White Pond Farm. Tora explains “we can manage the cattle much better because more information is readily available and in so many different formats. Keeping track of cattle has become simpler. We are able to create batches and I never get behind from reporting births and movements to BCMS as I can send them by a couple of clicks from the mouse“.

Tora has found that their new management system is improving all the time, Tora claims “I write notes on an animal’s record card and when there’s something notable, e.g when twins are born and one’s male and the other female, I’ll make sure I note it so we don’t try and breed from the female twin in case she’s a freemartin“.

“Tora says “it’s a management tool, I can see what’s going on from the office and plan ahead. We don’t get constant rejected passport applications from BCMS because they can’t read our writing, farm inspections are a breeze as all the information they need is to hand in seconds and forecasting beef sales is simpler“.

Whatever the size of farm and type of producer, Cattle Manager can be used to assess herd performance and to help make sound cattle management decisions.

Tora concludes, “without the software I wouldn’t be able to manage the cattle as efficiently. We are more organised, especially when it comes to weaning and drafting in to fatten as I can sort the majority of the cattle from the office. When handling the cattle the whole process goes smoothly without always running in and out of the house to find out who’s who, how old they are etc. We are calmer and so are the cattle“.

Benefits of Farmplan for White Pond Farm

  • On-the-go record keeping via an operators smartphone or table
  • Carry out vital financial analysis
  • Improved forward planning
  • Simplified the passing of assurance inspections
  • Links with ag leader displays

We are more organised, especially when it comes to weaning and drafting in to fatten as I can sort the majority of the cattle from the office.

I never get behind from reporting births and movements to BCMS as I can send them by a couple of clicks.

Farm inspections are a breeze as all the information they need is to hand in seconds and forecasting beef sales is simpler.

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