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Beef producer boosts sale prices with free app: Lois Black

Posted by Chloe Dunne on June 1, 2021

A Scottish beef producer has been tackling inefficiencies in her business and selling her cattle at higher prices using a free precision livestock app. 

Lois Black, who farms near Greenock, outside Glasgow, has been using the Breedr app since October to help monitor weight gain in her herd of 70 Simmental, Shorthorn, and Angus cattle, and is now selling them using Breedr’s online marketplace. 

Previously, she sold direct to a private dealer and says she had little idea about what her cattle weighed. Ms Black, who runs a mainly grass-based system over 700 acres, then invested in weighing equipment and started using the Breedr app, which enabled her keep track of each animal’s weight. 

“Using Breedr has changed my life,” says Ms Black. “It used to be that the dealer would come and we’d have a look at the animal, guess the weight and then negotiate a price. But when I started weighing my cattle, I realised they were heavier than I thought, so I could sell them for more. 

“Now I weigh them, and based on that, staff at Breedr help me come up with a guide price before I put them on the Breedr marketplace. I’ve sold 24 cattle so far on Breedr and got around £100 a head more than usual, so it’s made quite a big difference to my income.” 

Potential buyers are able to message and ask questions through the app, which has been helpful, and she’s even started to build a customer base. 

“I’ve had one farmer who bought some heifers off me and now wants my bullocks next year too,” says Ms Black. “The app has also widened my customer base – I’ve sold cattle in Scotland but also to buyers in England.”

Identifying inefficiencies 

Using Breedr is also helping Ms Black identify her inefficiencies as she moves towards a more grass-based system. “Weighing the cattle and using the app has highlighted where my weaknesses are,” she says. 

“Breedr gives me all these graphs about how efficient I am, and it showed me that my cattle were actually losing weight over winter, which I didn’t know. So now I’m looking at making the grazing season longer, trying to get more out of my grass in the growing season, and perhaps get in a nutritionist,” she adds.

Breedr’s other features are a big help too, cutting out paperwork and the need to log into multiple platforms. 

“I have all the information I need at my fingertips on Breedr,” says Ms Black. “I just log in and I can see how many cattle I’ve got on my farm at any one time, who the dam and sire are for each, vet and medicine history and weight. Plus, it collates all your data from CTS Online. 

“It’s just so useful, and it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Someone from Breedr even phoned me up when I got it and talked me through how to use it.”

Ms Black plans to continue using the app to sell her stock, monitor weight changes and improve efficiencies.

 

How does Breedr work? 

Breedr is a free app now used by 3,000 farmers, bringing buyers “straight to your pocket” through its online marketplace. Farmers can list their stock in minutes and expect to sell within 4.5 days of listing, on average. 

Buyers arrange the haulage, while the seller receives secure payment within 48 hours of the cattle arriving at the destination farm. The first three trades are commission free, and 2% commission thereafter. 

Farmers receive pre-listing advice on pricing and marketing strategies, and a matchmaking service to identify buyers interested in their stock. On average, cattle listed for sale on Breedr achieve 98% of their asking price. 

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