Are you well prepared for the next breeding season?
Nationally, only 58% of the Irish dairy herd calves in the first six weeks of the calving season in a calving interval of 394 days. Targets are 80% calved in the first six weeks and a calving interval of 365 days.
Perhaps reproduction results on your farm can also be improved, starting next season. Set new goals and let Nedap CowControl help you achieve them.
The key to reproductive efficiency in your dairy herd is in submission and conception rates. In fact, pregnancy rate is a product of both.
The ideal target for an Irish dairy farm is a submission rate of more than 90%. This is at least 90% of the herd coming into heat and inseminated in the first three weeks from the beginning of the breeding season of the portion of the herd you want to breed.
With help of the Nedap CowControl activity monitoring system, achieving over 90% is a realistic goal according to several Irish users.
Enda Doran, who is farming in Ballinasloe, Co. Roscommon, said:
“Since installing Nedap, it was already up to 97% in the first spring. And we completed a 100% submission rate in less than four weeks, which we could never come near that before with the old system.”
Detect cows in heat and inseminate at the right time
Nedap CowControl monitors each cow’s activity and heat signals such as mounting, sniffing and chin resting 24 hours a day.
It gives the farmer a list of the cows that are in heat, shows their optimal insemination moment and provides insights into their cycles. By doing so, it allows farmers to catch all cows in heat and breed them at the right time with the highest chance of success.
John Phelan, who is farming in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, said: “It doesn’t miss a cow that’s bulling. Every cow that is in heat is picked up. Every morning or evening before milking I check the system for cows in heat and draft them out.”
Phelan describes how Nedap CowControl has changed the way he handles fertility.
“The biggest change is the time and labor in monitoring cows. It takes away me having to watch the cows; I don’t go out in the field five times a day looking at them. Every morning or evening before milking I check the system for cows in heat and draft them out. And 99% of the time it’s accurate.
“Prior to working with Nedap CowControl, I was tailpainting and visually watching the herd. Besides missed heats I would often AI too late.
“Usually, when you’d see a cow with tailpaint gone in the morning, you would AI her in the evening. But if Nedap’s SmartTag tells me to AI her there and then, I will. So, nowadays, I’m AI’ing cows earlier in their cycle. And I don’t go to the field at all. Once the cows are out, they are out.”
More than an added bonus: finding cows with health issues
In addition to increased reproduction results and saving time on detecting cows in heat, Nedap CowControl contributes to better herd health.
The SmartTag around the cow’s neck monitors eating, rumination and inactive behaviour. The system provides accurate alerts on cows with deviating behaviour that might suffer from health issues.
This enables farmers to identify problems early, often even two to three days before their symptoms are visible to the human eye. It prevents issues from becoming major problems and becoming costly due to necessary treatment and medication and, moreover, a drop in milk production.
While improved fertility was the main driver of choosing Nedap CowControl, health monitoring has proven its value on John Phelan’s farm:
“The system notifies me when a cow is not eating or ruminating. I can then look at the cow and make my own decision. Does she need a vet, or is she alright?
A system that can pay for itself quickly
Nedap CowControl brings a wide range of benefits to the farm that allow for a short return on investment. Several users from around the world estimate the investment in the system pays for itself within just a few years.
John Phelan estimates for him it will be two to three years, “mainly because you’re getting more cows in calf earlier”.
“Our conception rates are up; last year we came close to 70% first service. This year is looking better already. More compact calving equals more milk in the tank. Whatever way you look at it, it’s more profit. And less work, you don’t have to go watch the cows. It takes care of it, watching them all day, every day.”
The same goes for Enda Doran: “We find with missed cycles that there is a loss in production of an average of €250/cow.”
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