"If only we’d had this system sooner"
About the farm
- 1100 dairy cows, 630 yearlings, 400 calves
- 90 staff members, led by 2 herd managers
- Annual production yield of 9600kg milk (20.5kg protein)
- Cows average 2.35 lactations per lifetime
- Calving interval varies between 435-439 days
Although Antónia Polner only had a few months’ experience of AI24 at the time of this interview (in September 2014) the results already appear promising. „We are already reaping the rewards. For example, we inseminated 420 cows in June this year. Last year, we inseminated only 260 in the same month.”
In addition, the animals also become pregnant more easily. In the summer months in particular, it was always very difficult to impregnate cows successfully, explains Polner. „We required on average 7 inseminations per pregnancy. In June this year, that had reduced to 4 to 5 inseminations per pregnancy, a huge improvement.”
As before, the Semex inseminator visits daily and works from 06.00 to 11.00 hours. However, with the introduction of AI24, insemination takes place twice daily. If the system identifies additional cows in heat after 11.00 hours, the inseminator receives a phone call and he comes back during the early afternoon to carry out a second round of inseminations. Doctor Polner hopes this will help to improve pregnancy results.
Another issue encountered by Polner is that in recent years, approximately 55 percent of newborn calves are bull calves and only 45 percent are heifers. Therefore, she is considering switching to sexed semen – for the yearlings in any case.
Zoltán Veres, general manager for Semex Hungary, asserts that it may be a good idea to use AI24 for the yearlings. „Firstly of course, to improve heat detection. There are only two people in the yearling stall and they are kept very busy just feeding the animals. That is where heat detection comes into play. Especially if you want to use sexed semen, it is important that animals be inseminated at precisely the right moment. Semex AI24 is the perfect aid in such scenarios.”
Highlighting reduced activity
The Mezöhegyesi Stud Farm also makes use of the ‘reduced activity’ function on the leg tag. When cows are less active, that is generally the first indication that something is wrong. The duty veterinarian checks the system every day to see which cows need to be monitored because of reduced activity. „That enables us to act quickly in the case of any health issues”, says Polner.
Besides, the herd manager notes that Semex AI24 improves operational efficiency. „As soon as the red light starts flashing on the screen, a flashing light is activated in the stalls. Staff members know immediately that there is a cow in heat that needs to be separated. Separation usually takes place during milking. However, if all cows are already back in the stalls, cows that are newly flagged as needing attention are taken from the stall and separated for insemination. “
Doctor Polner is very excited about AI24. „If only we’d had this system sooner”, she laughs. „I think it can really make an excellent contribution to breeding results as a whole for the business. In the future, I anticipate fewer inseminations, shorter calving intervals, more pregnancies, increased milk production, and more yearlings in calf.”