The Project

The Beef Monitor hardware works by measuring the weight of a single cattle or beast when they drink from a water trough, then sending the data to the Beef Monitor cloud system. The results are then displaying within the Beef Monitor web app where users can weight progression and other information about that beast. Finishing cattle are identified via Bluetooth with their electronic ear tag every time they drink water. It removes labor-intensive weight monitoring (or guesswork) and gives the farmer accurate weight information in real-time to help to achieve maximum marketable yield and profit. Average weights are displayed on a daily basis to ensure farmers know when the optimum abattoir weights are reached, reducing the risk of weight penalties and overhead costs.

Our task was to create the cloud system to which data would be sent and the web app that displays the data to the user.

The team at VOiD have been a key element with getting our Beef Monitor project up and running over the last couple of years. They have been very quick and professional when responding to any issues that have arisen and when implementing change requests.
I can highly recommend VOiD without hesitation.

– Richard George [Systems Analyst]


The Client

David Ritchie has been an Agricultural industry supplier for over 140 years, with a wide variety of high-quality products and services shipped across the globe to a range of industries. They now have state of the art manufacturing facilities in Scotland, China, and right here in the West Midlands. Spanning multi-national blue-chip organisations to small independent businesses, Ritchie has continued innovating their products to become an industry powerhouse – when they approached us for a software solution for their agricultural hardware, we were more than happy to muck in and help develop a system we think can change an industry. Find out more about Ritchie products on their website.

The Results

To begin with, we wanted to design with ease of accessibility in mind – because of how the app would be used, getting down and dirty with it should be as easy as possible. That’s why we focused on developing a web app. Web apps can be used on a range of devices with a web browser and all you need is access to the internet. The interface is mobile responsive so the user can log in anywhere on their tablet and mobile devices.

The main challenge presented to the team was the exact nature of the information required – what the farmer needed to see, whenever and wherever they needed to see it – then exactly how to display it, so that it’s quick and easy to view. Our User Interface was designed with this in mind, becoming the solution to the problem. The menu is simple to use, with quick shortcuts to your home page, viewing cattle and easily updating cattle information. Cattle can be sorted by EID, MID and UKID, making it easy to keep track of specific identification tags – nested under each entry in the list, the cattle’s current weight and their weight gain up to three weeks’ prior is displayed. The animals weight gain is colour coded so the user can see how each animal is performing at a glance. Small graphics were created to incite different alerts to quickly identify any issues. Individual cattle are given their own page with more in-depth detail, including average weight, breed, sex, date of birth.

The benefits you get from developing a web app couldn’t be overlooked either –  offering striking and elegant user interface options, the customisation allows for excellent presentation of information. Keeping visual clutter to an absolute minimum, the UI retains the recognisable orange of Ritchie’s own brand and features their trademark bovine silhouette in the menu, while organising data in a manner that’s easy to view and easy to use.

For you techies out there the web app was created in Laravel a PHP framework and the frontend coded with HTML & CSS with help from Bootstrap.

The Conclusion

Going forward, David Ritchie has already put plans in place that improved version one with an easier method to upload data, as well as adding information about the hardware within the web app. More updates are planned for 2020 that make using the system even easier with more automation. Working diligently to produce the software necessary for this unique piece of hardware, our main aim was to keep the app itself simple, with the capacity for data to be presented logically. Accessibility is a major factor in the project, we aimed to keep development choices firmly within those bounds, culminating in an app that is not only easy to use anywhere, but accessible using a range of devices and used efficiently for data uploads.

If you’d like to grab the bull by the horns for your software solutions, contact us here at VOiD. We’re always happy to help with your digital necessities.