Nedap CowControl: Know your cows, control your herd and improve your farm

Using an activity monitoring system allows dairy farmers to catch cows in heat for effective insemination, with the highest chance of conception.

But, modern systems currently used on dairy farms across the world have far more to offer than just that. Nedap CowControl combines automated heat detection, health monitoring and drafting.

By doing so, the system can be of massive support when it comes to herd management. It already helps many Irish farmers to maximise herd performance and farm efficiency and – therefore – improving their profitability.

Brian Mooney – a dairy farmer from Kill, Co. Waterford – uses Nedap CowControl since 2017 and is more than satisfied.

“It’s just like having another person to watch the cows. You watch them yourself, but because herds are so big now, you’re going to miss things; you’re just not going to see everything so you need an extra hand,” he said.

Heat detection and timely insemination

If an open cow costs €2/day, then a single missed heat can cost a dairy farmer €42¹. In today’s dairy economy, that’s a lot of money to use someplace else – especially if multiple heats are missed.

Nedap CowControl detects the heats of millions of cows with outstanding accuracy and – therefore – helps dairy farmers worldwide improve reproduction results and labour efficiency.

It automatically tracks signs of heat such as: increased activity; sniffing; chin resting; and mounting behaviour of all cows 24 hours/day. The system shows a clear list of all cows in heat with their optimal insemination moment for timely insemination.

It also provides additional reproduction insights, helping farmers to find cows with irregular heats, non-cycling cows and non-pregnant cows.

Continuing, Mooney said: “I felt it was the best heat detection and health monitoring that I can integrate with the drafting system.

For heat detection, I just check the phone before I milk in the morning and the same in the evening to know which cows are in heat. It is very accurate; it does what it says on the tin.

“For health monitoring, well that contacts me itself. I don’t really have to be checking animals; it just notifies me itself if there is anything wrong,” he explained.

Health monitoring to keep cows healthy, fertile and productive

Sensors can show dairy farmers more than the expert eye can see. They often detect health issues before their clinical signs and symptoms are visible to the human eye.

Nedap’s SmartTag Neck – attached to the cow’s collar – constantly keeps track of her eating, ruminating and inactive behaviour.

This provides the most precise and complete information about the health, well-being and nutritional status of individual cows and groups.

The system compares all behaviour with standards for optimum condition, the previous behaviour of the cow and the behaviour of the group she is in; it also detects changes or abnormalities.

It provides health alerts for cows that need urgent attention and shows a list of cows that need to be checked today, allowing dairy farmers to treat health issues before they become problems.

It also enables them to intensively monitor transition cows and post-treatment recovery, with the aim to keep cows healthy, fertile and productive.

“The monitoring of the health is 100%; it is picking out everything. When a cow is off form, I always get a notification,” Mooney added.

I am also able to put it up on my phone and see what the cow was ruminating or eating for the last 24 hours and everything. This information sometimes even helps the vet to make a decision on an animal as well.

Drafting cows in heat and sick cows automatically

To push farm efficiency to an even higher level, heat and health information can be fully integrated with Nedap’s drafting system.

As a result, cows that have to be inseminated, checked or treated according to heat and health alerts are automatically separated after milking, without having to touch them a single time; this saves time, labour and facilitates controlled growth.

When asked how Nedap CowControl changed the professional life of Brian Mooney, he says that it is especially valuable for him because it keeps things the same.

“The farm has changed and the farm has gotten bigger. You want to be able to stay the same, not get busier and not get more labour units; that’s my experience of it,” he said.

Interested in Nedap CowControl?

Would you like to get to know more about Nedap CowControl? To learn more, just click here

You can also contact your local Nedap distributor. They can provide comprehensive information about Nedap CowControl technology and how it can benefit your business.

References:

¹Graves WM. 2012. Heat detection strategies for dairy cattle. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Bulletin 1212.