Fullwood has launched a walkover weighing system that lets you monitor the weight of individual cows. It could improve herd management and give early identification of developing health issues, says the company.

“The weight of high-yielding dairy cattle can be used as one of a number of key indicators of an individual animal’s health and general state of well-being,” explains Les Strickland, UK field sales manager.

“Fluctuations in weight, feed intake, activity levels and milk composition can indicate a wide range of animal health issues including displaced abomasums, physical injury, lameness, mastitis and a lack of dry matter intake.

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“Weight fluctuations in individual cows can also indicate herd management problems – such as overcrowding or bullying at the feed barrier – while weight discrepancies in groups of cattle can point to the presence of roundworms, parasites, poisoning, acidosis or early onset pneumonia.”

The Fullwood WS walkover system consists of a 2.5m x 0.7m stainless steel platform which sits on two automatic weigh cells. The system can be installed in any cattle race and is capable of taking accurate weight measurements in less than one second.

Measurements have an accuracy of less than 2% and the system is fully automated. It can be used as a standalone system with its own digital readout display and memory unit, or with a compatible cow identification system.

By regularly monitoring each cow’s daily weight, it is possible to observe weight gain or loss in real time, says the company. “This not only allows dairy farmers to improve the management of their herds on a cow-by-cow basis,” Mr Strickland adds, “but also provides valuable data to assist in the selection of genetically superior animals that are able to cope with the negative energy balance commonly observed during the transitional period from calving to full lactation.”