As I am writing this, the total number of cows wearing some sort of monitoring technology in New Zealand is probably somewhere between 600,000-800,000 and growing.
In fact, the number of cow devices has doubled every year since first being introduced, so do not be surprised if this number has increased greatly again by this time next year.
If you are thinking about introducing collars or ear tags into your farm system, you are not alone – and there is no shortage of companies willing to offer up their product! So, when and where should you invest in new technology on farm and what should you choose? Here are a few suggestions for what to consider as part of this process.
Source: “Hitting the sweet spot for tech investment”, B. D. Rue, Inside Dairy, August/September 2022
The short answer is: they may, if heat detection is an issue on farm. It is important to understand what collars do and how they work:
Although very accurate, collars do not affect the drivers of reproduction, such as body condition score and nutrition. It is therefore very important to ensure that basic principles are still followed to ensure the best possible reproductive outcome for your cows.
Table 1: Reproductive results before and after collar introduction for selected Vetlife clients 21-22 Season
Yes! For most brands, it removes the need for tail paint or ‘scratchies’ completely (however, make sure you ask this when investigating brands!). A small amount of time is required to assess heat alerts later in mating, but the overall time saved on the vet stand is very substantial.
Make sure that your staff are on board and willing to use the technology you are implementing. If English is a challenge to some, make sure to check if your new system has different language settings, both on desktops and apps.
You will be presented with many Return-on-Investment calculations as part of your enquiries. Make sure that you consider the claims made in relation to your own situation and stress-test the numbers. Here are some things to take into consideration:
If you have embraced the brave new world of technology, Vetlife are committed to helping you make the most of your investment. CowSmart is a specialised service that is designed to support you where and when it is needed, at crucial times of the season, and to an extent that suits you and your business. For more information, contact your local Vetlife branch.