Inspectors from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) will be equipped with the XDA, which combines a Windows Pocket PC with a mobile phone, and will use them to catalogue the results of tests they have carried out on individual animals.
When these results have been inputted, they are then sent by the inspector to the ICBF database over the XDA's GPRS facility. According to those involved in the project, this will mean that the database is updated before an inspector leaves the farm, and will make maintaining and expanding the database much easier.
"In order for the industry to thrive, we need to continuously update our database with cattle data, while at the same time, keeping costs to an absolute minimum," said Dr. Brian Wickham, chief executive of the ICBF.
Wickham told ElectricNews.Net that he did not have a figure for annual savings from the system, but said that it will cut costs while helping the ICBF increase the number of cattle in its database.
"We have to get to critical mass and it just was not possible under the old method which saw each individual breed having a stand-alone system. We believe that this project can help increase the current 10,000 beef performance recorded animals per year, to between 50,000 and 100,000 per year in the next few years." There are over two million cattle in Ireland.
O2 Ireland said the system demonstrated the benefits of the XDA and its GPRS capabilities. A spokesperson for the company also said that it was in discussion with other industry groups, as well as businesses, about deploying the XDA among their agents.
The system was developed in conjunction with Sord Data Systems, an IT infrastructure and solutions company. Sord provided the specific software application for the system.
The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation was established in 1998 to bring about improvement in the genetic capabilities of Irish cattle. Its main functions are to provide genetic evaluation information for Irish cattle and to develop and sustain a database of the information required for cattle breeding.