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Control bodies work with app

LKVs and milk testing laboratories are pushing digitization and automation in milk performance testing - new generation of mobile data acquisition from LKVs with individual bottle allocation

The data acquisition in the course of the milk and meat performance test took place in the last 10 years largely with so-called hand-held devices, as they are known from parcel deliverers, as well as with paper and pen with subsequent entry in the RDV database. Since digitization and automation does not stop at the LKVs and milk testing laboratories, after two years of development there is now a changeover to a new generation of mobile data acquisition of the LKVs as well as individual sample bottle identification.

Data acquisition in the stable via smartphone app
In cooperation with the RDV partners in Germany, an Android-based smartphone app was developed that enables data to be recorded during milk and meat performance testing directly in the barn. Robust industrial outdoor smartphones and commercially available outdoor smartphones are used as hardware. All individual animal data such as milk quantity, observations, inseminations and diagnoses can be recorded by the LKV staff. Using a plausibility check before completing the data entry, employees are informed of any missing or implausible data. This is the best way to prevent errors.

Electronic transmission of reports
The first results of the milk and meat performance test (amount of milk per animal, weight list) can in future be sent to the farmers directly from the smartphone via email or WhatsApp in addition to the known written list. This means that printouts can be dispensed with in this area and the member has the information immediately available on their smartphone. In addition, the recorded data can be called up directly in the RDV as soon as the control body has transmitted the data after a successful plausibility check.

Sample bottle assignment to the individual animal
In the past, the milk samples taken during the milk performance test were classified in the milk crates according to the coordinate system.
In the course of the development of the mobile phone app, the option of individual bottle identification was also created. With the new smartphone app, for example, it is possible to assign each sample bottle directly to the respective cow while recording the amount of milk. Technically, the scanning of the sample bottles via QR code as well as the reading and / or writing of RFID chips in each bottle is implemented. The biggest advantage is the ability to write individual information on the respective sample bottle, such as: Performing an IDEXX pregnancy test. This additional functionality makes it possible to automate sample testing in laboratories. The milk sample bottles required for this with QR code and RFID chip in the bottom of the bottle are currently being purchased by the Austrian Quality Laboratory for the federal states of Upper Austria, Styria, Salzburg and parts of Carinthia and put into practice.

Implementation schedule
The LKV personnel affected by the conversion are currently being continuously equipped with the new data acquisition devices. In parallel, online training courses with an intensive exchange of experiences are taking place in order to guarantee the best possible training despite the current COVID situation. The individual bottle allocation to the cows is currently being tested by selected LKV staff. After a transition phase in summer and autumn, this is to be implemented in the federal states of Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria and part of Carinthia at the end of 2021. The switch should not only make data entry easier for employees, it should also simplify the bottle identification of the milk samples and subsequently reduce the susceptibility to errors. All in all, this is a further step towards increasing the quality of the milk and meat performance test and setting an example of further development for our members.