Blue Star Dairy Farm, Middleton, Wis., has been using activity monitors for the past year to reduce its reliance on timed A.I. programs.
The new technology will provide real-time health monitoring and heat detection with the use of rumination and activity monitoring.
SCR today announces its release of the SCR Heatime HR-LD System, which will provide real-time health monitoring and heat detection with the use of rumination and activity monitoring.
Key to the system will be long-range radio communication capability, with one antenna capable of a range of several hundred yards. That means cows will no longer have to be near short-range antenna located in the parlor or over drinking fonts. The long-range system will be able to constantly monitor cow rumination and activity.
|The SCR transponder unit is located high on the cow's neck. It records both multi-directional movement for activity monitoring and rumination sounds to gauge rumen health.
The system also offers bidirectional communication, which enables data storage in the neck-worn tags. Software upgrades of the tags can therefore be done without the need to remove them from cows.
"[All of] this gives farmers the information they need for true data-based decision making and the peace of mind that their cows are truly monitored 24/7," says Yariv Avisor, CEO of SCR. SCR currently has more than 2 million Heatime tags around the world.
Art Meinholz has been using the activity/rumination tags on one of his family’s three dairies for the past year. His original motive was to reduce his reliance on heat synchronization drugs and protocols. "We’ve improved our breeding and decreased the amount of hormones were using to the point where we are not breeding off timed A.I. for the first service," he says. Overall timed A.I. has been reduced about 40%.
Blue Star Dairy, 20 or so minutes north of Madison, Wis., milks 540 cows. It has a rolling herd average on 32,000 lb./cow with 3.8% butterfat and 3.1% protein. The herd average has improved 1,000 lb./cow over the past year or so.
Art’s nephew, Jeremy, is in charge of the breeding program. He estimates that GnRH use has dropped by a half to two thirds. The herd is now at a 60% heat detection rate while maintaining a 20% pregnancy rate. Two-year-old conception rates were at 47% in June, older cows somewhat less.
The Meinholzes breed off both activity and rumination. Activity increases during estrus while rumination dips. That combination offers them a good signal when the cow is in peak estrus. They try to breed 12 hours after peak, with Jeremy checking his computer four to five times per day watching for those peaks.
The rumination monitors also aid in fresh cow health monitoring. Art is in charge of monitoring the fresh cow pen. "We still temp fresh cows for each of five days after calving, but now I will check the rumination data first. That tells me to double check that cow if she is not ruminating," he says.
The rumination data also is a way to monitor and validate treatments cows receive. If the treatment isn’t working, rumination activity won’t rebound to normal, he says.