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Amimal Data

A: Animal Data Access and Updating by Service Providers using only Herdman-Server: This is the most basic option suitable for the Milk Unions or dairy organizations or companies that cannot afford high investment but would like to start the animal data recording program for the benefit of their farmers. In this system once the current status animal data is built up on the server, reports for each AI worker is generated and printed, preferably every 15 days (could even be month, if 15 days not possible). The AI workers get the list of animals that are eligible for various activities, such as, open animals for AI, non-return animals for pregnancy test, pregnant animals for drying off and calving, now-born animals for registration and so on.

Fig.: Depicting the cost-effective data collection scheme using only Herdman-server

The report also has blank column against each animal specifying the data that needs to be recorded. The report after filling up of the information can be returned to the data operator who enters the data for the village animals and a new report is generated and handed over to the AI worker. This system streamlines the data recording system and is very effective in the first phase when the service providers are not technology- savvy. In this system there are some limitations. For example, some animals that could exhibit estrus may not be included in the list.

B: Animal Data Access and Updating by the Service Provider using voip system: This system is very similar to the system earlier described for data access to the farmers. The difference is that the Herdman program identifies the pre-recorded telephone / cell phone numbers of the AI worker and through voice telephony the program provides to the AI worker the ID numbers of animals that are due for undertaking various activities. The parameter for which the Herdman-voip provides download facility is described in Fig. 8. For example, the AI worker / veterinary service provider before starting his day can call dial the dedicated telephone number. In case the telephone or cell phone of the AI worker is already registered, the program would identify him and through the voice telephony he is provided with ID numbers of animals for various activities, such as, due for estrus, due for pregnancy test, etc., which he can record in his diary. After completing the work, the AI worker once again can dial the dedicated number and as per instruction and then dial a specific number (such as ‘2’) to indicate that he is requesting for data upload. He can upload the data for various activities once he does as per voice instructions. The list of data upload for each activity is described in the box given in Fig. 8.

Fig.: Schematic representation of the voip-based data download and upload system for
AI worker / Veterinary Service Provider

C: Providing ‘Action and Alarm’ animal data to the AI worker and veterinary guidance services through ‘Animal Record BPO’: In this system the updated record is maintained at the headquarter server. In order to provide protocol-based services, the AI worker or the veterinarian of the village herd(s) telephones the headquarters animal BPO, which is managed by data operator who have access to ‘Herdman-server’. The action and alarm list is generated for the village and the ID numbers of the animals is dictated which is taken down by the AI worker. Accordingly he conducts the days’ work. Fig. 9 depicts this scheme. Once the entire day’s work is over, the AI worker once again contacts the headquarter ‘Animal BPO’ and gives details of the work done which is entered directly into the data entry format, directly and the individual animal records are updated. This system can also be used for providing veterinary consultancy to the AI workers. In that case an expert veterinarian can manage this service wherein the AI workers and farmers can contact to get advise on problems. The expert Vet also has access to individual animal file hence appropriate advice is possible.

Fig.: Animal B.P.O. scheme of Animal Data Recording System

D: Animal Data Recording using handheld or PDA and tele-veterinary services: In this scheme the AI workers are provided with handheld or PDA so that they can enter the data directly. The handheld is a simple device for passive data entry. It does not maintain individual animal lifetime records. It just permits data entry for activities like, AI, PD, calving, drying off, calving, weight, milk weight, etc. and this data then can be transferred to the server through physical USB port. The PDA being independent computer can maintain the database of all the village animals taken as herd and this also permits information processing to generate action and alarm report. The PDA also permits access to past data of the animal so that decision making is more informed and rational. The data from PDA to server can be transferred either through GPRS connectivity or through physical data transfer using USB/Blue-tooth technology. The PDA can also be used for providing tele-veterinary services to the AI workers working in remote areas. The AI worker can take the photograph of the animal and record the symptoms and other data in the animal folder. The updated file of the animal and the photograph of the animal then can be sent through GPRS to the veterinary expert who can respond back with advice which is received on the PDA.

Fig.: Schematic representations of the field data capture using handheld or
PDA and data transfer facilities to the serve

E: Field Animal Data Recording Using WAP-enabled Cell Phone: This is a unique and a very cost effective way of animal data recording from rural areas. This model offers several advantages:

  1. The cell phones are now a very common device available with most of the veterinary personnel and farmers, hence no investment in technology is needed
  2. The hardware problems of the cell phone can be attended to promptly since many such repair shops are available in the vicinity.
  3. The network can be used for sending alerts and action plans as sms message to the farmers
  4. The network can also be used for tele-veterinary purposes
  5. The AI worker can use the GPRS facility to browse the authorized herd data, down load alerts and action lists and also upload the data of work done during the day.
  6. Only one server software is required so that maintenance work is bare minimum. Since the data is available on web server, its management and attending to problems is also very easy and cost-effective.
  7. The data is available to the stakeholders from anywhere and anytime.
  8. The Managers of the organized dairy farms can also be access data of the farm even when away from the farm.

How to implement:
It is very simple to implement. Load Herdman-server software on your headquarters server with add-on WAP module. The server should be connected to internet so that the data can be made available on the web-server. In case you wish to analyze the data of herds at the veterinarian level also and want to print monthly performance reports for each farmer, the veterinarians should also have Herdman on their PC. This can be connected to the server through internet connection. The database of the concerned herds can be downloaded to the veterinarian’s PC.

The field veterinarians can be registered with the server along with an internet account created for each user. The server administrator would provide the user name and password to start with and register the user specifying authorized herds for the user. The next step is to ear-tag the animals and to provide unique identification number for each animal. The AI worker or the field veterinarian then can collect the current status data of the animal in the supplied paper format, which can be sent to the server administrator for creating the animal file. Once this is done the program can be kick-started.

The server every day would generate ‘Action and Alarm’ list for each herd specifying what work is expected of the veterinarian. This is sent to the email account of each user, who can browse this through WAP-enabled mobile phone by accessing his email. In the evening once the work is done, he can access the data upload formats using the WAP facility of the mobile phone. He can enter the work done for animals on the day and he can send the data through the GPRS to the server. The server would validate the user, cell phone number, the password and then also authenticate the data being uploaded. So in minutes you can send the day’s data of work done which is merged in the server data. The entire procedures is very simple and even a moderately literate AI worker, veterinary worker can handle this easily.

Scope of the products:
The above software applications can be made available on the web-server from where the Milk Unions / the dairy cooperative or any other organization that is into providing veterinary, animal husbandry, extension or genetic improvement services can download the required software. The data can also be stored on the state-level or national-level animal data warehouse. The data warehouse can also be interfaced with other softwares so as to develop a national animal health and productivity information grid.

Options for data access to the farmers:
Modules for Data Access to Farmers: Providing information about their animals, especially the action events to farmers are crucial for achieving the goal of productivity enhancement. For example, farmers of developing and underdeveloped countries are generally not good at detecting estrus as a result in case it is missed the dry period of the animal would increase by one cycle. This would have significant adverse economic impact on the farmer. It is always beneficial if the farmers can be involved in increasing productivity. A crucial way is to keep them informed about day-to-day actions they are required to undertake with their animals. The Innovators have developed unique systems of extending the animal information to the farmers. Two distinct systems have been developed for this purpose:

A: Data Access to Farmers through SMS:

(i) Sending ‘Action and Alert’ Lists to the farmers:

For providing this service to farmers it is crucial that data of all the animals on server are updated regularly. We have developed a novel system wherein the ‘Herdman-server’ has been provided with a program application that processes the information and generates farmer-wise ‘Action List’.

Fig. Schematic representation of system for providing animal data information to farmers

The program then generates in the morning SMS messages daily and is then sent to the stored mobile number of the farmers. This enables the farmer to examine the animal and carry out the animal management accordingly. This increases the production efficiency.

(ii) Animal reports access to farmers through sms:

Access to farmers The farmer can also access information about his animals by sending template SMS message to a dedicated number assigned to the server. The message is then processed in the Herdman-server and the farmer is sent the message on his mobile registered in Herdman-server. The registered farmers are provided with templates in their mobiles so as to maintain uniformity of the message. For example if a farmer wants to know the breeding status of all his female animals then the template code is ‘B-AF. The server would recognize the mobile number from which the owner code is identified and then the data of female adult animals of this owner is processed and the message is sent to the farmer on his registered mobile in a specified format. In case the owner wants to know the information of an individual animal then after the information code the owner has to write the animal ID and then the message can be sent to the server dedicated number. This system therefore is very convenient for farmers that are having mobile with them. This novel service enables the farmers to carry out various farm activity as per plan so that no animal is missed for any activity, which ultimately results in improving the productivity efficiency of the system.

B: Animal Data Access to Farmers through VOIP System:

In developing and underdeveloped countries many farmers may not own cell phone hence for them a system based on ‘voice- over- internet protocol (voip)’.

Schematic representation of animal data access system through voip

In this system a software program has been developed which interfaces the Herdman-server with the voip server that has a dedicated program to enable voip facility. In short this systems works as described in the following paragraphs:

A Milk Union that is equipped with Herdman-server and Herdman-voip-server software applications can provide this service. The Herdman-server is loaded on to a Window-based server whereas for voip software an independent server enabled with Linux operating system is essential. One or more dedicated telephone lines must be provided which are interfaced with the server with an electronic card. The farmers can dial the dedicated telephone number after which he is guided with pre-recorded voice for the next steps to follow. For example a farmer wishes to know what activities he is required to undertake for the day. He has to dial the dedicated telephone number and after getting the voice response he has to dial as instructed. In case the farmer is calling from a telephone number registered with Herdman-server, the program identifies the caller and he is requested to choose between ‘Action List’ or individual animal data on breeding or production for which he has to dial the specified number. Through voice telephony the farmer is then provided with information in native language.

The Milk Union at the time of installation can choose the language of choice to the farmers. In case the farmer is calling from a telephone line not registered with ‘Herdman-server’, the farmer will be asked to first dial his unique identification number and then he will be instructed to proceed with dialing numbers as per his request. The system basically enables the farmers to access the data. This system can also be adopted for sending auto-voice-telephony ‘Action List’ instructions on the registered telephone of the farmer. This is an innovative and cost- effective system for providing animal data access to ‘small-holder’ livestock farmers especially of developing or under-developed countries.

C: Reporting animal performance to the farmers:

This is a printed report generated each month for each farmer that provides details of the performance of each animal. The information pertains to general details, production details and the breeding performance. This report can be generated in any language specified in Herdman-server. The farmers can be trained for interpretation of the report. Alternatively, the ‘Veterinary Service Provider’ can interact with the farmers each month during which the farmer can be explained the report and various interventions to correct the problems, if any, can also be conveyed.

Schematic representation of data access to the farmers through auto sms messaging service