CAFOweb Compliance Inspector Porter Beene and Glorieta Geoscience, Inc. Senior Environmental Scientist Shawna Perry demonstrate the use of CAFOweb nutrient compliance and management software at P7 Dairy in Roswell. (Mark Wilson Photo)
A small New Mexico agricultural technology startup with offices in Roswell, Clovis and Santa Fe has been named a Top 10 New Product for 2014 by the International Agri-center.
Nutrient and water use tracking software company CAFOweb will accept the the distinction during the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Ca. Feb. 11-13.
“This is a huge deal for us as far as not only getting exposure nationwide but across the world as well,” said CAFOweb Executive Director Tara Vander Dussen.
The expo, organized by the center, is the largest annual agricultural exhibition, with 1,500 companies showing products at the event this year, according to Liza Teixeira, center director of communications.
“We feel it’s very prestigious to be named a Top 10 product,” [auth] she said.
There is no hierarchy among the products chosen, according to Teixeira.
CAFOweb, an independent company, was developed by agricultural consulting firm Glorieta Geoscience, Inc. The company’s name stands for “concentrated animal feeding operation,” which refers to a facility where animals are confined in an area that does not produce vegetation.
The software program launched in 2012 is currently used in New Mexico, Nevada, California and Washington, mostly by dairy farmers. The aim of the product is to help farmers conserve money and environmental resources.
More than half of the research behind the product was conducted on farms in Chaves County, according to Shawna Perry, senior environmental scientist for Glorieta.
CAFOweb developers say the program is the first of its kind in that it allows farmers to monitor application of nutrients on fields and water use in real time.
Perry and CAFOweb Compliance Inspector Porter Beene demonstrated the software at P7 Dairy on East Hobson Road in Roswell, Wednesday.
Beene, a former Texas dairy farmer, said he aided in designing CAFOweb to be practical and user-friendly for farmers.
Beene took a reading from a meter measuring the amount of water being pumped from a storage lagoon on the dairy and plugged the data into the software using an iPad. He described the process as “pretty much instantaneous.”
Perry and Beene said the program can be used to find excess application of water or nutrients on fields.
Water use is measured by meter readings while nutrient concentration is measured from samples of soil and “green water,” or water runoff from milking parlors that has been cleansed of manure and is recycled as a source of nitrogen to fertilize soil.
Data can be entered directly into the CAFOweb software and used to make visual representations such as graphs that show trends.
“We’ve caught where water is being wasted,” said Beene, citing as an example a spike in water use that program revealed on one farm. The source of the spike was a hose left running in a barn, he said.
Perry added that up to 20,000 gallons of water can be lost in one day by a running hose.
Data recorded by CAFOweb can also be presented to inspectors such as those from the New Mexico Environmental Department Groundwater Quality Bureau.
Perry said the program is specifically designed to follow inspection guidelines from the department.
Farmers traditionally prepare for inspections by compiling information on paper and inputing numbers into spreadsheets, according to Beene. He said the analog process is tedious and makes identifying trends difficult.
Glorieta President Jay Lazarus said CAFOweb is “forward thinking” in its methods of compiling and analyzing data, and creating visuals.
“It’s predictive; it’s proactive and not reactive,” he said.