Poor cow health poses a significant threat to profitability. When they’re sick, cows make less milk and require treatments that cost a lot of money.
The sooner these sick cows can be brought back to full health with the least expensive treatment protocol, the smaller the economic impact the health issue has on the dairy.
1.Electronic animal monitoring is an effective tool to find sick cows early, many times before clinical signs are apparent. Early detection and treatment of a health issue improves the cow’s response to treatment and, in turn, reduces the potential drop in her milk production.
2. Another benefit of electronic monitoring is the ability to gauge the cow’s response to the treatment applied. For example, usually an effective treatment for a health event will cause the animal’s rumination to sharply increase within 10-12 hours. An ineffective treatment will make rumination levels maintain at the same level or lower.
3. A third benefit of electronic monitoring is being able to supervise treatment response remotely without physically inspecting the cow. This reduces the demand on labor and lowers the disruption of a cow’s daily routine.
Rumination graph of cow with a health issue treated effectively.
4. Minimizing the amount of treatment applied is, yet, another benefit. Many users find that they overtreat their cows. A multiple-day treatment protocol may not be utilized to its full term if the treated cow returns to her normal behavior within a shorter period. This way, the producer saves on labor and drug expenses, and decreases disruption of her routine.
5. A fifth benefit is that continuous connection to a cow’s health status increases decision making flexibility. A user may begin a fresh cow’s treatment with fluid treatments. A positive response would result in the cow’s recovery and then she wouldn’t need any more treatment. A response that is positive but not immediate would result in continuing treatment but using more aggressive veterinary protocols. No response would result in marketing that cow while she is still marketable.
Rumination graph of fresh cow protocol beginning with fluid treatment, a positive response and continuation with a more aggressive form of treatment.
Surviving the current dairy economy requires examining every aspect of farm management, deconstructing it and reconstructing it more efficiently. A real-time connection to individual cow health status can go far beyond just early intervention. It offers a structure that can support a more effective and cheaper way of achieving better economic and cow health results.