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Optimize your herd management: indicators & tools to rely on – Part 1 The importance of individual observation

Since the success of the farm depends on the performance of each cow, these Blog episodes outline how a herd monitoring system can help you optimize the health of your animals, positively impacting the overall farm efficiency. Modern dairy farming implies the achievement of profitability through facing significant challenges as bigger and bigger herds, striving toward healthier cows producing milk of the best quality possible through non-invasive and sustainable solutions, while involved in a delicate economic context marked by strict requirements.

Therefore, it is crucial to acknowledge the value of each animal, striving to prioritize its health, in order to maintain the highest performance possible, which include:

  • Reproduction and reproductive efficiency, the key to a profitable herd. These two aspects influence the milking cycle and, if not accurate, affect and reduce milk production and farm efficiency.
  • Cow’s health. Well-fed and stress-free cows will produce more and better milk, especially in post-fresh cows and the first 60 days after calving. This entails higher profitability and better efficiency, as the herd’s well-being also affects reproduction.
  • Nutrition management. Along with ration changes, it is a critical issue in dairy producers’ management routine, therefore combining the support of a nutritionist with the 24/7 data will help improve management even more, through a better understanding of the cow’s needs.

Herd management software can thus be the right tool to spot nutrition and feed issues thanks to the identification of early symptoms, rather than waiting for real problems to manifest. Moreover, it provides insights that enable to identify trends and develop strategies based on the evidence.

Individual observation: the key to tackling challenges

 The trust and reliability that used to be put into visual observation demonstrate how individual monitoring of each cow is crucial in the optimization of farm efficiency and profitability. The following lines will explain why it is essential to consider every single cow and count on the right technological tool to make sure this step is performed in the best way possible.

Firstly, the success of the farm depends on the performance of each cow, as a drop in the production of one cow will have an impact on the overall average. Being herd sizes in constant growth, personal contact and visual observation to detect heat and monitor health are becoming harder and harder. Consequently, the intimate proximity can only be ensured through herd management systems providing data on health and heat.

One step further towards maximizing farm profitability is combining milking recording with individual observation. In fact, monitoring milk production to spot any abnormality is wise and very useful for genetic improvement but, since a drop in milk production can be a symptom caused by an issue that appeared several days before, having a tool that helps you to monitor each cow’s health status is an even wiser choice.

The benefits of monitoring the health of individual cows

When choosing the right tool to rely on to gather data that is as complete as possible both in terms of single cows and the entire herd, these are the pillars that could play a crucial role in optimizing their health management:

  • Better monitoring of calving diseases and the well-being of cows after calving.
  • Early detection of health issues, which enables more timely treatment, saving costs and shorter recovery times, returning to full production faster.
  • Clearer view of the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Early information on the aftermath of nutrition changes, as even changing from one supplier to another can create problems. These might reflect on milk production but, as mentioned above, why not adopt tools that allow you to spot them right from the beginning?
  • Monitor the impact of environmental issues, such as weather, grouping, or equipment changes, enabling farmers to develop proactive strategies to prevent future problems.

Once spotted both farmers’ key goals and challenges and the essential information they need to tackle them in this episode, do not miss our next Blog post to find out the crucial indicators that should be monitored to achieve your goals!


Date: 04 May 2022

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