Proper grouping plays a role in improving cow health, boosting production, raising income over feed costs and improving parlor efficiencies. Successful grouping strategies depend on suitable facilities, time to manage grouping decisions, adequate labor to execute them and resources to prepare and deliver multiple diets.
Even in the best run dairies, individual cows may drift from their assigned groups, compromising many of the expected benefits of strategic grouping. Management is left with the operational challenges of identifying cows that aren’t where they should be, finding them and bringing them back to their assigned groups. These inefficiencies and extra work all negatively impact herd profitability.
Add a sorting gate or a milking parlor to an electronic cow-monitoring system solves those problems, almost automatically.
The “Cows Milked Outside their Group” report shown above lists cows that the monitoring system suspects are in the wrong pen. The report lists the cow’s assigned pen, the pen she is suspected to be in and the shift this discrepancy was detected.
As cows go through either the parlor or the sort gate, a detailed algorithm reviews her assigned group relative to the cows that are within that physical space along side her. If the cows around her are from a different group, she will be flagged by the algorithm and added to the “Cows Milked Outside their Group” report.
Now, management has two options.
The first, more cumbersome method, is to look for that misplaced cow in the pen the monitoring system “thinks” she is in, find her and move her to her assigned pen.
If the dairy has a sort gate, the second method is to automatically assign the report to the sort manager during a specific shift. This is a significantly more efficient method than the first. Cows on this report sort automatically when they go through the gate at the scheduled time. Even if the monitoring system makes a mistake and wrongly singles out a cow for being outside her assigned group, she can be returned to her assigned group with minimum disruption to her or the farm’s routine.
The Sorting Manager list reports to be automatically sorted by day and shift time as well as customized lists of cows to be sorted by day and shift time. “Cows Milked Outside their Group” report automatically scheduled sorts are circled in red.
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