Herdwatch has announced it is to extend its services for free to 39,000 suckler farmers around the country, “in response to the difficult market conditions being experienced by the Irish beef and suckler farming community”.

Under the new plan, all beef or suckler farmers with 10 cows or less can use the app without incurring any cost.

This new plan will apply to over 53% of Ireland’s 73,000 suckler farmers.

They will now be able to use the Herdwatch app to register calves, record remedy and feed purchases and send weights for the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme.

According to the firm, Herdwatch has implemented these changes to help Irish suckler farmers in response to the rising costs, volatile prices and increased compliance requirements they are facing in the market.

The threats posed to the suckler farming community by both Brexit and Mercosur were also factored into the decision.

Speaking about the new plan, Fabien Peyaud, CEO and co-founder of Herdwatch, said: “We are very conscious of how difficult the market conditions have become for Irish beef and suckler farmers in recent times.

Not only have they the major threats of Brexit and Mercosur to contend with, they also have to worry about rising costs, extra administrative burdens and unpredictable prices.

“At Herdwatch we see ourselves as part of the Irish farming community and we wanted to do something to help.

“We know that some farmers will struggle to justify investment in farm technology because of the current market conditions.

“For that reason, we are making these changes to our service.

Farmers with 10 cows or less will now benefit for free from the ability to record and view farm information on the spot.

Peyaud said that, through the app, farmers can spend less time on paperwork and more time on decision making and staying on top of their farm businesses.

“According to data from the Department of Agriculture and Food, that means that more than half of the Irish suckler farming community will benefit, representing 39,000 farmers who can make use of the app without cost.”

The CEO noted that, to get started on Herdwatch, a farmer downloads the app and puts in his/her herd number.

“We hope that this will provide some aid to the Irish beef farming community over this difficult period,” Peyaud concluded.