Bovcontrol is a Brazilian cow-tracking system for farmers and ranchers that can be run from a smartphone app. Users input basic data for each cow – birthdate, vaccinations, pregnancies etc – which is then tracked individually by whatever ID the farmer uses (tattoo/ear tag/chip). Bovcontrol crunches the data and provides services such as predicting when particular cows are due to go into labour. Over 3,000 farms across the world already use Bovcontrol, even though the company is only three years old.
However, Bovcontrol is not just for the nitty-gritty of farming. It also has a data platform for food providers who want to know where their beef comes from. Bovcontrol can track the origin of a cow and give information on how it was managed. This is particularly useful for companies like McDonalds who want to prove that their supply chain does not contribute to Amazon deforestation, and butchers and restaurants who want to assure their customers that their beef is grass-fed and environmentally sound.
Image credit: Jeff Weese/Flickr
Increasing traceability puts more pressure on food providers to source their meat responsibly, and makes it easier to hold them to account. Apps such as Bovcontrol can help prove where animals are grazed, and make it easier for customers to make informed choices that support good farming practices. This is increasingly important in a world where food fraud (such as mislabelling of meat) is becoming an issue due to the activities of organised crime.