“It’s probably the best investment I made as a farmer”
Somerset, United Kingdom
About the farm
- 470 cows
- Expanding to 650 cows
- Heifer unit on second location
- 10 employees
- Equiped with Alta COW WATCH, powered by Nedap technology
Early detection of health problems: that’s where the money is
The possibility to expand a dairy farm does not only depend on finances and space, but also on the use of the right technology. Jon Bult is quite confident he has made the right choice by investing in Cow Watch. “It’s probably the best investment I made as a farmer”, he says.
Together with his employees Jon Bult runs a dairy farm in Somerset, United Kingdom. Now they are milking four hundred seventy cows and they have a heifer unit thirty five miles away. By the end of the year they will be milking six hundred fifty cows. Over the past three years, his business has grown and Jon started using the Cow Watch system at about the same time. It literally gives him the time and freedom to be an entrepreneur.
“I use Cow Watch primarily to track down sick cows”, Jon explains. “My first part of the day is to check the computer and see if there are any alerts on eating, rumination and inactivity of the cows.” He thinks it’s an effective aid to pick up sick cows in an early stage. “Mastitis, a crippled cow or even a milk fever case; we make a decision in the preliminary stage whether or not she should be treated. Sometimes we don’t need to treat these cows with antibiotics. And given the public pressure, we really need to try to cut down on our antibiotic usage as best as we can.” Cow Watch is there twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. “It’s never had a day off”, Jon says with a smile. “And for me, that’s where the money is: picking up these sick animals, a day earlier before the human eye possibly can. So I’m really impressed with the features. With cows, you don’t get much time to save one. The system provides real-time data. So go see this sick cow, and treat her with the information you got. And you can save her life.”
Increased pregnancy rate
Secondly, Jon uses Cow Watch for heat detection. “The majority of our pregnancies are via Cow Watch. And I think you would be mad not to have a heat detection system. For us, Cow Watch has given us the reliability that we needed to serve these cows. We don’t miss heats.” The accuracy and reliability of the system has significantly improved reproduction figures. Jon confirms this: “Since having Cow Watch, our pregnancy rate probably rose from about 24% up to 28%.”
At thirty five miles from his farm Jon has a heifer unit. He can practically run that unit from base. His employees at the heifer farm call in the morning to discuss which heifers should be inseminated. And Jon can make informed decisions. “I don’t need to travel thirty five miles to decide to serve this heifer or not, so it saves a lot of time.”
Enabled to expand
“My time is now more valuable”, Jon states. “I’m trying to manage ten guys, plus the farm and the cows. Cow Watch gives me the freedom to do all those extra jobs that would otherwise probably be overlooked. So I’d fully recommend the system. We have been working with it for over two and a half years now and it’s fantastic for us. It has transformed our way of health and reproduction management and we’re getting better results all the time. It’s enabled us to expand our business.”
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