“We're picking up illnesses like pneumonia, ketosis or digestive issues three days earlier than before.”
Bridy Skeen, health team
About the farm
- 2.000 cows
- Milk three times a day
- Equiped with Alta COW WATCH, powered by Nedap technology
Reliable heat detection can be a major gamechanger
In a herd of two thousand cows there’s no way you can manually track the perfect insemination moment. So OvSync programs are often the solution. But what if automated heat detection makes hormone use unnecessary? Then nature finds its way, you save costs and the reproduction results rise. Riverina Milk experienced this firsthand.
In the wide landscape of the Riverina region in Australia, near the Murray River, is the extensive Riverina Milk dairy farm. Brydee Skeen, member of Riverina Milk’s health team and AI technician, outlines the size of the company. “We milk two thousand cows three times a day, which means our production doesn’t stop. We go twenty four hours a day.”
The optimal insemination moment
Twelve months ago they started with Alta COW WATCH and SmartTags, mainly for heat detection. Brett Hazelman from Alta Genetics works together with Riverina Milk’s health team. “Before they installed the SmartTags they deployed many double OvSync programs. A lot of hormones involved, with manual heat detection”, Brett recalls. As an AI technician Brydee is very happy with the introduction of the system. “We’re able to inseminate cows every day now, rather than putting them through a program and using hormones.” The system is saving them time and money on doing hormone shots. “We’re able to just let them be and we can tell when they are on heat now, which is really good”, Brydee concludes with satisfaction. Brett agrees with her and confirms the benefits: “The good thing about the Nedap system is, it tells you the perfect time the cow is in heat. So that in itself can be a major gamechanger in conception results. It’s a real big thing.”
Detect digestive issues, pneumonia, ketosis
But it’s has been more than that. Alta COW WATCH also detects health problems in an early stage. Brydee is very excited about this: “The SmartTags are very good at identifying sick cows.” COW WATCH records the feeding, ruminating and inactive time of the cows. And alerts you to a significant rise or fall. “We’ve been able to draft out cows that are coming up on our COW WATCH system, have a look at them and determine what’s actually wrong with them”, Brydee explains. “We do pick up a lot of cows that have digestive issues. In which we never would have been able to pick that up, so that’s pretty amazing. Other things like pneumonia and ketosis, we‘re able to pick that up three days earlier than before we had the SmartTags.”
Monitoring dry and fresh cows
Before they had the SmartTags, they didn’t monitor health issues with their dry cows. “We just didn’t have the people to do that.” Brydee smiles and says: “So I guess that would probably be the biggest thing we wished we’d know before.” They also tend to use COW WATCH with their fresh cows a lot. “It helps us figure out cows that have ketosis, which we didn’t know until we got the SmartTags. It has actually been a large problem on our farm”, Brydee confesses. “Now we are able to look at and treat the cow earlier on, which prevents them from getting Displaced Abomasum. Which has been really good, because we haven’t lost as many cows.”
Indispensable on large companies
Brydee looks to the future with confidence: “We want to work more towards having healthy cows and getting cows pregnant. The collar system will help us do that. I would definitely recommend it to other farmers, especially in a large production like we have. Not only it saves a lot of time, but it’s easy. And it’s really good.”
Riverina Milk is equipped with Alta COW WATCH powered by Nedap technology. To learn more about Alta COW WATCH and to contact your local dealer, go to the Alta website:Find your solution ›
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