Herd management system aids robotic milkers

A new herd management programme could help farmers using DeLaval robot milker to increase heat detection rate and get on top of mastitis levels.

Using Herd Navigator with voluntary milking system (VMS) means that dairy farmers can combine milking automation and advanced herd management technology – a system that we at DeLaval call Smart Farming, explains Fernando Mazeris, DeLaval director of feeding & herd management

By automatically taking, analysing and reporting on milk samples, Herd Navigator alerts and advises dairy farmers of the condition and health of each individual cow. It automatically detects disease, reproductive status and feeding conditions, before they would be noticeable to the human eye.

“For an average European herd the data show that Herd Navigator can bring net profits improvements of 250-350E a cow a year,” says Mr Mazeris.

According to Danish dairy farmers Ole and Annette Lind, installing Herd Navigator alongside their four VMS has changed their lives in a very positive way, as well as the welfare of their 260 cows.

“Before Herd Navigator we detected about 40% or 50% of cows in heat and now we are up to 95% heat detection,” says Ms Lind.

“It used to take us at least 45 minutes a couple of times a day to check for cows in heat; this now takes five minutes to check on the computer screen – the system tells us which cows to focus on and gives us time to call the inseminator.”

Herd Navigator is also able to identify mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a system sensitivity of more than 80%. The system also detects early signs of ketosis.

“I cannot imagine life without Herd Navigator; it would be like looking after the cows blindfolded – now we get a full overview of our operation and automatic 24-hour surveillance of our cows,” explains Mr Lind.

Smart Farming is about saying goodbye to guesswork and physical chores to embrace simplicity and precision, improved animal welfare and high milk quality, plus better lifestyle and profits, Mr Mazeris concludes.

*Herd Navigator for VMS will first go on sale in Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany, France and Finland.

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