As we look back on the end of a second breeding season with Tailpainter, it is sort of amazing to think how far we've come from the original PVC and welded-together prototype I first built. Tailpainter can now be found on over 600 farms across Ireland and the UK, and has helped many farmers achieve one of their easiest breeding seasons ever.
The core of our mission at Tailpainter is helping the dairy farmer to have as profitable and safe a farm as possible. While there are a number of companies that want to add value to a farm, there are many others that simply want to help part a farmer from his or her hard-earned money.
As a dairy farmer myself, I experience first-hand the long hours and hard work that goes into producing each and every litre of milk. Having been critically injured by a bull, I know how hard an accident can hit the farm's finances. And I of course know how little the market tries to value a farmer's product, no matter how premium quality it may be.
We're squeezed into the very thin margin between expenses and milk prices on a global commodity market, which means that we will only make money by managing our costs and by being as efficient as possible.
Time is money, no matter if it is your own time or if you are paying someone else to help on the farm. In the spring, many of us at are our busiest time - starting with calving and then the breeding, all the while having to manage our grass. This is why compact calving is so important: it means we can focus on fewer things at once, and can get our cows onto fresh grass as soon as nature allows.
Achieving compact calving starts with good heat detection, but if you're having to hire in extra labour when cash is getting tight, it may be something you think about cutting back on. This is a false economy, and there is a better way to save money!
What the farmer really needs is a way to detect heat using the most efficient means possible. Tail paint has proven incredibly reliable and cost-effective, particularly using the four-colour system commonly used in New Zealand.
With the Tailpainter, the farmer has a tool that allows them to keep tail paint topped up, but really takes no extra time or labour unit and can be done safely from wherever makes the most sense. That is the very definition of efficiency - achieve more with less.