A practical study amongst Utrecht University, Wageningen University & Research, Vetvice and Nedap
About this study
On a dairy farm, there is certainly no shortage of data. Key performance indicators for milk production and livestock health have come to form an indispensable part of modern-day livestock farming and with the advent of sensors, the flow of data has expanded still further. In a large-scale practical study, Utrecht University, Wageningen University & Research, Vetvice and Nedap are seeking to identify a method that will make it possible to derive practical value from the information provided by sensors. In the series of articles below, we will look over their shoulders as they carry out their research.
Part 1 of 5
A performance grade for the transition
Cows that spent too little time eating during their non-lactation periods run a greater risk of suffering from a variety of diseases and conditions. This is one of the findings obtained during the practical study “Sense of Sensors”. A livestock farmer may not notice this very quickly, but the sensors will.
Sensors as a “litmus test” that measures cow health
How can you derive practical value from the information provided by sensors? What types of data are useful and which ones are not, and how do you translate data into something that will provide livestock farmers with a useful point of reference for the management of their herd? Four parties have gotten together to carry out a unique practical study into the solutions. Non-standard behavior during the transition has been found to be a predictor of problems after calving.
Top cows in the barn lie more often during the dry period
Cows with high lactation values lie more often during the dry period. In addition, total lying time is longer, as was shown by the practical research Sense of Sensors. The results of the research also confirmed the benefits of the deep litter box.
Produce more milk with a separate group of heifers
It takes at least one month before the behavior of dairy heifers normalizes in a herd with mature cows, the practical study Sense of Sensors shows. Heifers demonstrate specific behavior, have different needs and thus merit special care.
Cows with milk fever start showing abnormal eating behavior six weeks before calving. That is evident from the practical research Sense of Sensors in Transition Management. Cows that are affected by milk fever benefit from oral calcium administration, while infusion is in fact counter-productive.