"It has made our work a lot easier."
Operations manager at dairy farm
Plaaz, Northern Germany
About the farm
- Cooperative dairy and crop farm Am Schmooksberg e.G.
- 300 cows in two barns
- 1,800 hectares, of which 250 are used as pasture
- 22 full-time employees, of which 6 are responsible for the dairy cattle
- 9,600 kg per cow, with 4.1% fat and 3.5% protein
- Animals are fed silage, corn, grass and concentrates
- Lactating animals kept in 4 production groups
"It makes every aspect of the work easier."
The formerly state-owned north German company Am Schmooksberg was extensively renovated and expanded in 2013 and 2014. The introduction of Nedap COWControl™ with Heat Detection and Health Monitoring was the capstone of the modernization plan. Since then, operations manager Ingolf Bohn strolls through the barn with hardly a care in the world.
“It makes every aspect of the work easier,” he says with a big smile. Bohn knows what he is talking about, because he has been running the agricultural cooperative in Plaaz since 1988.
Reduced calving interval and hormone use
Since he began using Nedap COWControl™ with Heat Detection and Health Monitoring, the average calving interval has been reduced by five days. And the use of hormones has dropped sharply, he says. “The system is very intuitive, so it doesn’t take long to learn,” Bohn says. “In the beginning, we kept getting warnings for the dry cows, but we found we were able to change the settings very easily.
“I do all the inseminations myself, twice daily. That allows me to decide when to inseminate the cow – in the morning or the evening. I see that as a big advantage, because high-yielding cows are often only briefly in heat.”
Take control of your farm
Pick out cows with foot problems quickly and easily
Bohn and his team also know how to put Nedap Health Monitoring to good use. “You can really pick out the cows with foot problems quickly and easily,” Bohn says. “And that makes a difference in the milk yield. After all, a cow that feels good and has no pain also produces more milk.”
The standard procedure is to have all the cows walk through a foot bath after milking. Bohn always trims the hooves of any lame animals himself, and he does the cows that are being dried off too. All the cows are also treated by a professional hoof trimmer twice a year.Health Monitoring
Nedap Sorting and Routing & Milk Yield Recording
Sorting cows is smooth and easy
Milking is done two times a day. The new 2×12 rapid-exit milking parlour with cow identification and milk measurement has been in use since March 2015. Thanks to Nedap Sorting and Routing, separating cows is now a piece of cake. Behind the parlour is a large separation area, equipped with a hoof-trimming chute and several treatment boxes for insemination and pregnancy checking. Bohn tells how it works.
“Separation is now very smooth and easy. I can just select which cows I want to keep apart in the online platform.” Separation and routing can also be done from the control panel in the milking pit. Any cows with warnings are flagged up there too. The company also uses Nedap Milk Yield Recording. All those extra options – made possible through the integration of the ISO module in Smarttag Leg – are ideal, Bohn says.
“Looking at the overall picture, it has made our work a lot easier,” he concludes. “Does it save time? Well, I always spent much of the day in the barn, and I still do. But it does make the work a lot more enjoyable.”Cow Sorting and Routing