Many benefits to cow monitoring

A large crowd attended the launch of EveryCow at Rhys and Emily Hamilton's North Otago dairy farm on February 26. Photo: Supplied
A large crowd attended the launch of EveryCow at Rhys and Emily Hamilton's North Otago dairy farm on February 26. Photo: Supplied
Farmers and veterinarians from around the country converged on a North Otago farm for the launch of a new cow monitoring system.

EveryCow was presented by SCR by Allflex and the Geraldine-based Centre for Dairy Excellence team at Brookstead, one of the latter's ''flagship farms'' at Enfield, inland from Oamaru.

Allflex developed SenseTime technology to provide near-real-time reporting of bovine reproduction, health, and nutrition information. The Centre for Dairy Excellence added consultancy through its veterinary expertise.

Cows wear collars or ear tags containing small ''Internet of Things'' (IoT) chips that store and transmit data about their condition.

The technology can reduce the labour and costs associated with heat detection during mating, improve production and year-round herd health, especially at calving, and allow farmers to fine-tune pasture-based nutrition and transitions to other feed.

Two North Otago farms and one in Waikato have been using EveryCow. Rhys and Emily Hamilton milk 1000 cows at Brookstead, Brock and Gemma Hamilton milk 800 cows at Avon Glen farm at Enfield, and Kevin and Cherie van der Poel milk 1200 cows across two properties in Ohaupo, Waikato.

They said the new technology helped them identify health issues, saved time in treating animals, and identified the best time for artificial insemination.

The Centre for Dairy Excellence would provide comprehensive training for farmers and ongoing technical and extension advice.

''This is a powerful system with an immense flow of information, which in the long run can help farmers benchmark performance both against their previous years, but also against other EveryCow farmers,'' the centre said in a statement.

''This will also give us the ability to research some of those big industry questions around animal health and welfare, reproductive performance and farm management.

The name EveryCow reflected the SCR by Allflex slogan 'Make every cow count', as this was about making each cow accountable and visible in an environment where farms themselves and the demands on them were becoming more complex, the centre said.

''By presenting the exceptions to the farmers, we make it easy to intercept issues earlier, improve farm reproductive performance results and remove underachieving cows from the herd - the easiest way of making more from less is to remove the underperformers and hitchhikers!''

It offered a way of providing triple-bottom-line proof for farmers through social, environmental and business profitability.


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