"I've really developed 100% confidence in the system.”
Anna-Britta and Herbert Nyman
About the farm
- 160 cows (Holstein x Swedish Red)
- 170 young stock
- 350 hectares
- 2 x 10 herringbone milking parlor
- 10,000 kg milk per cow (3.4% fat, 4.3% protein)
Herbert says, “I never expected it to happen, but I’ve really developed 100% confidence in the system.” Herbert is a fourth-generation dairy farmer in northern Sweden. He and his wife Anna-Britta run the operation on 350 hectares. They milk 160 cows (Holstein x Swedish Red) in a 2 x 10 herringbone parlor from SAC. They also have 170 young stock to take care of.
Everything in one system
Smarttag Neck is exactly what we were looking for
In Sweden, pasturing of cows is mandatory from early June to mid-September. The young stock graze outdoors then, too. What’s more, the roughage must also be produced in these summer months. During this busy period, the Nyman family hires six additional personnel who work in two shifts and help with milking, feeding and crop production.
Herbert and Anna-Britta inseminate their cows themselves. During the winter, the cows are divided into high-production and low-production groups. In the summer, they all pasture in one large group. To monitor such a large herd, the Nymans had bought a heat detection system in the past. Although the system shortened the calving interval by a number of days, the farmers were not really satisfied. The quality of the leg bands left much to be desired, and the system was not reliable enough. Moreover, time and time again it proved difficult to find a cow in heat in the barn.
“In principle, the solution is to separate the cows after milking, but that would have involved creating an extra separation area,” says Herbert. “And even then you can only pick out cows twice a day, after milking.”
Smarttag Neck: A better solution
From conversations with other farmers in the region they learned of another heat detection and positioning system on the market that makes it possible to quickly find that one cow in the group. This sounded good to them. SAC installed Nedap COWcontrol™ with Heat Detection, Health Monitoring and Cow Positioning. Herbert says, “Everything in one Smarttag Neck. Exactly what we were looking for.”
"The secret to making money"
Inseminate cows at exactly the right moment
Herbert and Anna-Britta have now been using the Nedap COWcontrol™ system since November 2015. Within a week, everything was set up and the system functioned flawlessly. The Swedish dairy farmers have nothing but praise for it.
“The big advantage is that this system monitors your cows 24/7,” says Herbert. “I can check how my herd is doing any time, day or night. As a result, I can now plan my days better. We can now inseminate at exactly at the right moment, and that’s the secret to making money. Not just because you have more chance of a successful insemination, but also because it saves a lot of time.”
Take action immediately
Cow Positioning and Health Monitoring prevent drops in production
Thanks to Cow Positioning, Herbert can see where a cow is located with a quick check of his smartphone. The location is shown visually on the barn floor plan. It is also convenient for the employees, who always have access to a computer in the office. They also use Cow Positioning to find cows that need to change groups, explains Herbert.
Moreover, they actively use the Health Monitoring function. One of the first signs a cow is not feeling well is often reduced or feed intake. As soon as that happens, Herbert gets an alert. Health Monitoring particularly proves its value during the first week after calving, he says.
“Our first clue that something is wrong with a cow used to be a drop in the milk yield. If you’ve already reached that point before you can intervene, you’re actually too late. Because once the milk production has dropped, the cow is very unlikely to reach her old level again during that lactation cycle. Now we can take action immediately. This prevents a huge drop in production. Naturally that boosts profitability, but it is also much better for the cow.”
More than thought possible
Flexible, reliable information about the cows, from anywhere
Herbert has no regrets about purchasing the Nedap system. “It was a good investment. Especially for a farm like ours that doesn’t have robotic milkers and a cow separation area, it’s ideal.” Herbert also praises the convenience of the all-in-one package. Because the system is linked to the internet, the farmers can also keep an eye on things remotely, via the phone, tablet or PC.
“I see that as a very big advantage too. When we are away for a weekend break or a holiday, we can still check the cows,” Nyman says. “If one is in heat, we call the AI technician so the cow can still be inseminated at the right time.”
These days, Herbert and Anna-Britta feel comfortable putting their complete trust in the Nedap technology. Herbert says, “The system is 100% reliable. I admit I was skeptical, but I’ve become a firm believer.” For heat detection and inspection I no longer have to go out to the barn. I really hadn’t expected that would be possible.”