While corporate Australia remains steadfastly devoted to their desktops and laptops, Australian farmers have shown who the real innovators are with their adoption of handheld computing.
Following an encounter with his boss' city mate and his Palm, share farmer Darren Van Liessum partnered with D&K Technology to devise an application which saves farmers about five hours a week in administration tasks.
The FarmHand application, which integrates with the five main programs farmers use to record herd data, lets farmers record herd information in the field.
"We used to have to go out with a notebook and write details of the herd and then go home and type it in at night," Van Liessum said.
To ensure the health of the herd, farmers keep a record of health history, mating details, milk-production measurements and grandparentage data.
Van Liessum said the application has been available for 12 months and about 50 farmers are now using the technology.
Farmers are also using expanded handheld software to keep track of members of a herd.
Under a National Livestock Identification Scheme, many Australian farmers have had a radio-frequency passive transponder (RFID) inserted in their herd animals. This RFID emits a unique low-frequency code providing each animal with an individual identity.
Using a handheld wand or a wall-mounted aerial with a direct connection to a Palm handheld, farmers can electronically obtain on-the-spot information on individual animals.