The dry period is the most important stage of the lactation. It prepares the cow and her udder for the upcoming lactation as well as delivering a healthy calf. These are two important components of generating revenue for the dairy.
Yet, typically dry cows get less attention than they deserve. In most farms, dry cows are left on their own. Limited daily interaction with herdsmen results in inefficient health screening methods, hampering timely intervention when health issues appear.
As healthy calves can make money for the dairy, undetected dead calves can cost it money in various ways. For the cow carrying a dead calf, this could very well be a death sentence if she’s not attended to in time.
With electronic monitoring, dry cows are monitored for their health status 24/7. Algorithms “look” for changes in behavior rather than clinical signs. The algorithms are designed to not only find cows that need management attention, but also find these cows earlier than the naked eye. This gives management a “jump” in dealing with the issue on hand.
Cow 22603 is a third lactation cow. She was assigned a monitoring tag on July 25th and appeared to be doing just fine, as is evident by her stable rumination patterns (purple graph). On the eighth day with her monitoring tag when she was 264 days pregnant, a distress alert was issued by the monitoring system. Upon inspection it became clear she was carrying a dead calf. The dead calf was removed before she became toxic.
Cow 22603’s rumination graph. In red circle highlights the appearance of the base line (her normal behavior). ‘Downed Cow” icons indicate a distress alert.
This story doesn’t necessarily have a fairytale ending, but certainly the ability to identify a problem early and act on it made the difference. This is the difference between a dead cow and a sold cow.
Subscribe to Profitable Milk >> HERE
If animal monitoring is something you would be interested in learning more about, contact us >> here.