Many farmers are intrigued by electronic animal monitoring. They’ve heard that it “works,” but how will it work on their farm?
To this we answer, “It’s up to you.”
A quality monitoring system will monitor individual cows, develop a baseline of behavior and flag the cows that need attention. A credible monitoring system will collect and analyze data and will present it in an actionable report. But making it “work” is the responsibility of its owner and his or her team.
There are two rather obvious components to attaining success with an electronic monitoring solution:
First, put tags on cows and assign the transponder serial number to the cow’s management number on the computer. Tags that are not on cows will not collect cow data. Tags that are not assigned in the computer to the cow that’s wearing them will make intervening on her behalf nearly impossible. This is an ongoing process, as some cows will be culled and a few tags may have retention issues, requiring some management attention so that all available tags are on cows.
Second, ensure action is taken on the cows flagged by daily reports. Reports neither breed cows nor treat sick cows, employees do. Make sure specific employees are accountable to use the daily reports (weekends, holidays and vacation days included). There’s nothing more frustrating than having a cow die because she wasn’t attended to when she first appeared on the health report or a cow not bred when she appeared on the heat report.
Despite the obvious nature of these components, the challenge in their implementation is that they require a change from “the way things have always been done” on the dairy before the monitoring system was put in.
A step by step training program can help in the transition. However, when we isolate the ONE factor that characterizes the expert users of animal monitoring, it’s their openness to change.
Animal monitoring will introduce a new and important variable into the decision-making matrix – your cows’ opinion. Once given a means to communicate, cows will tell you if their comfortable or not, if they are fed well and if they like to be in the holding pen among many other things.
Users that listen to their cows and make the necessary changes enjoy more significant improvements in cow performance. Cows never lie!
Listen to one of our advanced users about all of the changes he’s had to make after installing his system:
Subscribe to Profitable Milk >> HERE
If animal monitoring is something you would be interested in learning more about, contact us >> here