RAYMOND Caldwell milks 120 cows on the outskirts of Fintona in County Tyrone. The herd is currently averaging 8,200L at 4.27 per cent butterfat and 3.32 per cent protein. His aim is to breed-up the cows using a selection of appropriate AI sires.
“To make this happen will require very accurate heat detection rates,” Raymond confirmed.
“I was aware of the fact that a number of automated heat detection systems are on the market at the moment. However, on speaking to the team at National Milk Records.
“I was made aware of the SCR Heatime system, the world’s leading and most popular heat detection system which monitors both heats and rumen activity in real time.
“Given its dual function, Heatime was the obvious choice for me to make. The system was installed a number of months ago and it is certainly living-up to the promises made for it.
“It is difficult to see every cow coming into heat, even when observing cows up to six times daily. But Heatime is certainly helping us get on top of this challenge.”
Raymond added: “Rumen activity is at the very heart of cow health. If the rumen is not operating properly, neither is the cow. Heatime is providing real time information on rumen activity for each cow in the herd. This information is helping to flag up cows that may have a health-related issue at a very early stage. It also gives me a clear indication of reaction to ration and nutrition reformulation
“I am seeing significant variations in rumen activity on an almost daily basis. The Heatime system is extremely sensitive in this regard and is key in early detection of health issues.
John Graham, from National Milk Records, was a recent visitor to the Caldwell farm. He explained that the neck collar-based sensors are read by a receiver on the farm.
“They can transmit data to a receiver from up one kilometre away. This information is then analysed and displayed on a controller.
“In Raymond’s case the receiver is located on a roof in the farm yard with the controller attached to a wall in the dairy. The information provided, both where heat detection and rumen activity are concerned, is extremely easy to interpret.”
John further explained that Heatime collars will also store information while cows are out at grass, should they be outside the transmission range of the sensors.
“This data is then immediately transmitted to the receiver and controller as soon as the cows come back into range,” he said.
“The collars are also extremely robust with a full five year warranty.”
The Heatime system, along with the new Sensetime system which is cloud based and consists of either neck collars or ear tags, will be profiled on the National Milk Records’ stand at this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair.
A spokesperson said: “Building on over 35 years of meaningful innovation, SCR is the leading pioneer of cow and milking intelligence. Monitoring millions of cows worldwide, our data-driven solutions are trusted by successful dairy farmers to deliver the insights and analytics needed to optimise the productivity of every cow. Improving efficiency and driving growth, we help to ensure a secure and prosperous future for their farms and families. SCR. Make every cow count.”