Monitoring the cow's body for more accurate decisions about health and nutrition

Automation technology is changing the way we produce milk, and the benefits are far-reaching: improved profitability, milk quality, lifestyle and animal welfare. It can also provide us with information about the cow that we have not had before, to support decision-making.

"These new automated technologies have the potential to change the way we manage cows. We will now be able to understand each cow’s condition in a way that we previously might have only dreamed of. The potential to catch cows in heat with limited human observation or pharmaceutical intervention is the most exciting prospect economically. Being able to catch sick and lame cows sooner will improve treatment success resulting in reduced disease losses, increased longevity, and improved animal well-being."
(Jeffrey Bewley, Associate Professor and precision dairying expert, University of Kentucky)
Read the whole interview with Jeff Bewley here

Herd Navigator - identifies the cows in need of special attention

At Lystbjerggaard farm in Denmark Ole and Anette Lind are using a technology called Herd Navigator that automatically takes milk samples and analyzes parameters, helping farmers to monitor reproduction, mastitis, and energy and protein balance of the cows. This way they can easily detect heat, mastitis, cysts, pregnancy, ketosis, and measure urea levels.The system identifies mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a sensitivity of more than 80%.
Read more about how the Herd Navigator works here

"We cannot come closer to the truth about the cow’s health, since the numbers are based on direct measurements of hormones in the milk. This way we are able to make the diagnosis at an early stage and also prevent and act before the cow becomes sick and needs treatment," says Anette Lind.
Read more about Ole and Anette at Lystbjerggaard farm here

When the Swedish dairy farmer Samuel Holmberg and his brother Peter expanded their herd with an additional 100 cows, they fell behind with the inseminations and  their reproduction status suffered. The Herd Navigator system has helped them regain the control over the herd, and they are also very positive about the ketosis warnings they get, which has saved them a lot of money, preventing production loss.

 “Overall, the herd’s health has improved with the Herd Navigator, because we can take action early, before the problems grow too big. We can be pro-active and prevent feed-related problems.”
(Samuel Holmberg, owner of Brännfors Lantbruk, Sweden)
Read the whole interview with Samuel Holmberg here




Reproductive management and performance can be improved by use of Herd Navigator

Published: 8/11/2011 Written by: Jens Y. Blom Carsten Ridder

The Herd Navigator system monitors reproduction, mastitis, ketosis and urea levels on a daily basis. It issues a number of warnings to the farmer: time of heat, the likelihood of a prospective insemination being successful and, given the cow was inseminated, the likelihood she has become pregnant. It also indicates the risk for post partum anoestrus and cystic conditions.

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Lameness in dry cows will likely mean ketosis in fresh cows

Published: 7/29/2011 Written by: staff

Ketosis is often a problem in fresh cows. A recently published study shows a strong link to lameness in dry cows. In dairy cows, one problem often leads to another. The falling domino scenario is particularly the case around calving time. Over-conditioning can lead to ketosis that can lead to a displaced abomasum. And metabolic problems after calving can mean reduced reproductive performance later. The underlying causes that start the sequence of problems can be many and often several in combination.

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Herd Navigator video


Herd Navigator savings calculation

Published: 8/12/2011

At one of the farms that are using the Herd Navigator system they have saved $322 (EUR 223) per cow during the first year. This means that the pay back time for the investment was less than 18 months. The savings are calculated on Reproduction, Ketosis, Mastitis and Feed efficiency improvements.

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Dairy farms

Brännfors Lantbruk, Sweden - Expanding and remaining in control

Published: 8/9/2011

When Brännfors Lantbruk expanded the herd it became more difficult to keep track of the cows, and they fell behind with the inseminations. They found a way to monitor their cows with less effort, improving the herd's reproduction and health.

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Farm interviews on

Read interviews with three Dutch farms using Herd Navigator.




Herd Navigator video


Monica Wadsworth

Monica Wadsworth
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Monitor your herd and get results

"I think better control of the reproduction is the main advantage of the Herd Navigator. The ketosis warnings are also very useful, monitoring the energy balance of the fresh cows is very important, especially in large herds. And let's not forget that the time saving is significant,” says Annica Hansson, dairy production advisor in Sweden.

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Happy cows, happy farmers

“The most remarkable thing I have noticed is that after two months the farmers stop talking about heat detection. They start trusting the system more than their own observations. And from what I see they are right in doing so.”

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Finding that ketosis in time

One of the main benefits of monitoring the cows with Herd Navigator is that the ketosis cases are found in time, before the cows show clinical symptoms, and can be treated early. “Treating the cows while they are still eating has a miraculous effect,” says Olav Noergaard, veterinarian from Denmark.

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The role of new technology in the dairy industry

Automation technology is changing the way we produce milk, and the benefits are far-reaching: improved profitability, milk quality, lifestyle and animal welfare. It can also provide us with information about the cow that we have not had before, to support decision-making. But is automation and new technology for everyone, and is it the only way to stay profitable? We asked Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, Assistant Professor at University of Kentucky and expert in precision dairy farming, how he sees the role of technology in dairy farming.

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During the two years they have had Herd Navigator installed Rinse and Jurjen Wassenaar have grown their herd from 135 cows to 170 while the yield has increased from 8000 to 8500 kg. They did not buy animals from outside.

Reproduction has improved significantly in the herd over the two years. Calving interval decreased from 435 days to 390, and the number of cows culled due to fertility problems is halved. Number of inseminations per pregnancy has moved from 2.8 to 2.4, they want to reach 2.0!

Even though the number of ketosis cases found by Herd Navigator was limited, approximately 20 incidents per year, a dramatic effect was seen when they started giving energy boluses to these cows. The yield increased, and it was also seen that these cows starts cycling and improve reproduction. Rinse agrees now with a colleague also having Herd Navigator, that the loss of subclinical ketosis often reach up to 1000 kg milk!

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