I am always amazed with all the things I can do with my phone. Where would I be without it? I love it and hate it at the same time. I have just a few apps that allow me to control what our robots do with cows. If a cow needs to be sorted out of the group, I enter her number or name and then swipe and save. Easy. If I need to treat her, I can enter that into my phone app. Her milk will be dumped and not contaminate the bulk tank. I use the same app to look up the production of a cow, days in milk and even if she has had a fever in her last milking. So much information right in my hand. That cow app is handy when doing herd health. If the vet wants to know something about her, I have it in a few seconds.
    If the manure scraping robot gets stuck, I can open the app and get it going. Again, swipe and save. Off it goes pushing the manure down into the pit. Same thing with the feed pusher. Swipe and save.
    If I think a cow or heifer might be calving, I can look at the camera app on the phone and zoom in to see what is happening in the maternity or the pre-fresh pen. We are often looking up what is going on at home when we are out telling others about the robots that have been milking our cows for over 15 months. This is a lifesaver for the calves that are born in the middle of the night or the cows and heifers that are having a difficult calving. This phone app is one we are watching many times a day.
    I am so used to working with my phone while out in the barn or doing farm related stuff. The power is in my pocket whenever I need it. But there are times when I forget about other things that I can use my phone for. I think it has to do with my age; I regress back to the old fashion way. Just two days ago, while registering calves, I had two new bull codes that were not recorded yet. I was scanning through the Select Sires book looking up the numbers for over 20 minutes, and then it dawned on me. Just ask Google. Wow, what a time saver.
    Other information, directions, simple facts or answers to questions are so easy. I wonder if there will ever be a need for encyclopedias or even the need to go to the library to look through books to find solutions to problems. I was always challenged to look through the card catalog file and search through the shelves looking for the number to the book that might hold the explanation to what I was questioning. Will anyone need to learn about the Dewey Decimal System in school anymore? I bet it will be a system lost in technology.
    This weekend, we had friends come to the farm to go through our chicken coop and sort out the hens that are too old and not laying anymore. They have no problem eating our geriatric laying hens. It is too much work for me, and honestly, I simply can’t kill them. That is how they got to be living in the old hens’ pen. How do I know which chickens are laying still? Gosh, I didn’t think to ask Google until the night before when they asked how many chickens I had for them.
    Dang, how simple. Look at their combs. If it looks dry and not bright, they might not be laying. Next, look at their vent. If it is not moist, she might not be laying. Then feel her abdomen. If hard, that is the third strike. She isn’t laying. Easy. They have been eating feed all winter, and I wish I would have asked Google this last fall.
    Duane, my husband, uses Google all the time. He asks questions often, and the answer is replied in a nice, friendly voice. There is no sarcasm or dirty looks when he requests information about something ridiculous. Then he looks very smart because he knows more than I do. I look back at him when he is quoting something and smile. I know it is all because he asked Google first.    
    Tina Hinchley, her husband, Duane, and their daughters, Anna and Catherine, milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2,300 acres of crops near Cambridge, Wisconsin.  They have been hosting farm tours for over 20 years.