Friday, 22 May 2020 11:32

Helping comply with safety

Written by  Mark Daniel

With on-farm safety being a real challenge, especially for employers, the Smart HS approach might offer some answers.

Developed by Donna Clarke and Graham Foote, the online resource delivers structured training delivered in a straightforward manner with common sense as a key driving force. 

Both from a rural and corporate background, the couple now operate a kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty. Graham, who also worked as a dairy farmer, put his practical skills to good use in the training sector. This included working with Farmsafe, Drive Zone and Ag Challenge, training operators to NZQA standards for the use of quads, side-by-sides, tractors and 4WD vehicles. He also did training for Fonterra, NorthPower, the Department of Corrections and of course many farmers and growers.

Smart HS offers a series of online training courses, covering the likes of motorbikes, quads, side by sides and tractors. 

Each course is broken into modules. For example, with side by sides, the course covers the legal requirements and regulations, safety and maintenance, machine controls, driving tips, load dynamics and recovering from awkward situations. 

As the candidate moves through each of the modules – a process that can be monitored by the employer – they receive current, straightforward information, supported by video content that demonstrates the likely outcomes if good health and safety practice is not applied.

In the case of farm tractors, the modules consist of the legalities, safety and maintenance, controls, safe towing, safe use of 3-point linkage and PTO driven implements, managing tractor dynamics and common mishaps. Once again, the information is practical, well thought out and clearly demonstrates Foote’s experience gained over many years.

Moving on from the study modules, the owner or operators can move onto practical modules, putting the theory into practice. Indeed, should farm owners or managers wish to upskill, they can also undertake courses to become a Smart HS assessor. This helps them to understand a trainees’ ability to understand, make behavioural changes and ultimately benefit from the content.

The online information is also available to use as refresher training for existing employees, so with a typical theory and practical module costing around $270, it seems a small price to pay for sound, practical advice that meets the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 2015.

www.smarths.co.nz

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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