A new smartphone app is set to make it easier than ever for farmers and industry professionals to access farm medicine dosage and withdrawal times.
The free app has been launched by the Animal and Plant Health Association (APHA) and it will contain a real-time, digital version of the information that is currently contained in their Compendium of Veterinary Datasheets. Users can easily search the app for products by name, by company or by category.
That makes it easier than ever to check veterinary product datasheets and confirm correct dosages, withdrawal times, herd health records or other relevant details required by industry professionals. There are over 600 products listed and the app also offers practical advice around medicine administration as well as including relevant warnings or precautions for each product.
Speaking after the launch of the new app, APHA CEO John Keogh explained how it will ensure that users always have the most up-to-date information to hand.
“Because it’s a digital source, the information is updated on a regular basis,” said Mr Keogh.
“So if there are any changes to data sheets, or new data sheets added, they become instantly available to the users of the app. The app is replacing a book format that we produced for many years, the Veterinary Data Compendium. One of the things with any book is once it’s gone to print - if there are any additions, deletions or changes - they’re not incorporated into the book format until the next book is published. This is a live system.”
The new app will allow farmers to easily access the latest information at any time and in any place once they have a smartphone. It’s a convenient alternative for the paper-based compendium.
“The other advantage is that, by virtue of it being mobile, it’s always available to you. It’s available in your pocket, it doesn’t require connection to the internet, it will synchronise when you have connection to the internet, but otherwise it’s available to you constantly no matter where you are.
“The book format ran to almost 1,000 pages so it was fine to have in an office, on a desk or on a bookshelf but not very useful in terms of practicality. If a farmer is using a product and can’t recall the withdrawal time or can’t read the dosage, they can use this app anywhere they are once they have their mobile phone with them.”
It’s just the latest addition to the growing collection of digital tools that are helping to make farmers’ lives easier. Digital tools are increasingly being utilised on farms as the industry embraces technology to improve processes.
“I think virtually every farmer now has a smartphone,” added Mr Keogh.
“It’s not that many years ago that I remember a farmer in Tipperary who had bought a smartphone and he had it in a plastic bag, so well packed that he couldn’t actually hear you when you talked to him on it.
“But we’ve moved on now and farmers are using smartphones to monitor their cows, to monitor calving, to monitor heat and heat detection. All those things are available on a smartphone so it’s become part of the toolkit of the modern farmer.”
The new app has already been tested and praised by stakeholders in the industry and APHA worked with their feedback to ensure that the final product was optimised for potential users.
“It’s a service for the sector. It’s downloadable for free so it’s not a commercial service and we hope that farmers, vets, licensed merchants and others involved in the agricultural field will download it, will get value from it, and that it will be of positive value to the sector.”
The launch of the app has also been welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Michael Creed.
“The new app will allow prescribers and users of veterinary medicines to access information on a ‘real-time’ basis when and where they need it,” the Minister said.
“This new information resource will prove to be an invaluable support to veterinary surgeons, licensed merchants, pharmacists, farmers and other professionals involved in the care and treatment of animals. It will also assist farmers and vets in the preparation and maintenance of animal treatment and herd health records which are a requirement for cross compliance and a critical element in the food safety and quality assurance chain.”