Farm compliance and keeping accurate veterinary and treatment records for livestock, is becoming increasingly important on all farmy-to-day recordings, but for Scottish dairy farmer, Andrew Paterson, it has become much simpler by using new technology.
“I’m probably not the best at paperwork and it was getting to the point where I was going to have to look at employing a full-time secretary,” he said.
Instead, he searched for a farm app that could help him with his day-to-day recording, and found Herdwatch, an award-winning smartphone, table/computer tool that, he pointed out, has changed his approach to meeting farm recording needs.
Andrew farms 950 acres at Woodend, Balfron between Glasgow and Stirling.
Apart from 60 acres of winter barley and 140 acres of spring barley, he grows grass for his stock, or for silage, and has 200 acres of rough grazing.  
The farm supports 225 dairy cows which calve year-round, with around 180 in-milk at any one time.  
All the offspring are kept and sold off the farm, with milk sold to Muller Wiseman.
The herd is mostly Holstein Friesian, with about 5% Montbeliarde.
There’s an indoor bull beef unit where cattle are finished in 12 months, and a flock of 300 Blackface ewes.  
All the heifers go to an Aberdeen-Angus bull with some sold as stores, depending on both the market at the time and the availability of grass.
“I’ve been using Herdwatch for about four months now,” he said.
“It’s brilliant. You start with a blank canvas, so it does take a bit of time to put all your information in there at the start, but now it’s saving me so much time I can concentrate more on the management of my stock.
“I had a visit from Trading Standards recently and they were really impressed with my record keeping. “They could see how accurate my medical records were, and how easy it was to generate reports that met cross-compliance needs.”
Andrew explained that when you purchase new medicines, you enter them into your ‘virtual’ medicine cupboard along with use by and expiry dates.
Once you use a product, it’s automatically removed from the cupboard and added to an individual cow’s record.  
As a bonus, there’s a ‘to do’ list, so that if a treatment is lasting a couple of days, you’re reminded of what cow needs what product and when, he said.
“I’m definitely saving at least three hours a week of time.
“I used to walk about making notes and then spend the evenings on the computer adding the information I had gathered during the day. I was having to enter everything at least twice.”
He added: “Now I can do my recording on my phone – which doesn’t need to have Internet reception to store it – as I walk around and all my devices are updated at the same time.
“A job that used to take five or 10 minutes is now over in seconds.”
He said that keeping accurate records is essential in modern dairy farming to comply with statutory red-rape requirements.
But as well as this taking time, important actions can be forgotten if something else comes along in the meantime to distract you.

Farmers can get a free 30-day trial, by going to