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Optimize your herd management: indicators & tools to rely on – Part 2: The advantages of herd monitoring

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.

We closed the previous episode on the verge of explaining the crucial indicators to keep an eye on how to optimize farm profitability and milking performance. In this episode, we thus evaluate each specific area that could be monitored, along with identifying the benefits that correct herd monitoring could provide.

Along with identifying the cow, herd monitoring systems allow to constantly supervise:

  • Ingestion time, which is essential to evaluate the milk-feed ratio to optimize cost-effectiveness, as well as any issue preventing the animal from eating or, on the contrary, causing excessive hunger.



  • Rumination. Known as a crucial indicator of a cow’s well-being status, its constant monitoring allows for complete health management, providing meaningful information on both health and reproduction in advance.



Why monitoring rumination?

Having highlighted the possible indicators that can be constantly tracked through a herd management system, the following points serve as further explanation of the role of rumination:

  • Cows normally ruminate for an average of 450-500 minutes each day, even though each animal has its rumination pattern. Therefore, any change in it is almost always meaningful.
  • Since rumination is the result of what the cow has eaten and how well the animal has been able to rest, it can serve as a very early indicator of diseases such as mastitis or future calving ones.
  • A drop in rumination is a clear sign of discomfort and, in open cows, of heat. Moreover, any drop in rumination anticipates a drop in production.
  • Monitoring the rumination averages and patterns of the group and the whole herd allows to monitor and manage nutritional changes. Ration components, physical characteristics of the ration, and general management are key drivers for rumination changes.

The advantages of monitoring rumination

Having acknowledged the importance of rumination in optimizing herd management, let’s now browse through the several advantages of relying on a technology that ensures constant rumination monitoring, such as MI Herd Supervisor:

  • Early detection of health issues, enabling pre-emptive action. Thanks to alerts sent to you before symptoms manifest, you get a crucial advantage to proactively react to avoid further deterioration or reduction in milk yield.
  • Optimal lactation curve management. Catching and treating health issues in advance helps your cows to reach peak lactation and maintain optimal milk production.
  • Fast insight into the effectiveness of veterinary treatment, quickly seeing if and how cows respond to veterinary treatments, to optimize their recovery and cost-effectiveness through timely decision making.
  • Efficient, effective health monitoring at high-risk times, allowing you to take appropriate action based on health alerts and data on the recovery of cows after partum.
  • Insight into ration and nutrition issues. Having a clear view of how specific groups react to ration formulation is key to measuring the effectiveness of the nutrition strategy and improving it.
  • Analyze environmental factors for optimal decision making, monitoring how aspects such as weather, grouping, and equipment changes affect the well-being of the cow and develop strategies to prevent future problems.
  • Easy-to-use and cow-friendly reproduction & health monitoring system. Relying on a tool that monitors the health of your herd facilitates the decision-making process while optimizing your cost-effectiveness and time management.

Moreover, make sure you choose scalable systems, which allow you to upgrade and extend their functionalities, according to the next goal you aim to achieve with your herd.

In this series of posts, we outlined the importance of constant monitoring of every single cow to gather insight on heat and health. Being more and more difficult to manage visual observation, the right ally to choose is a herd management system that supports you with 24/7 data on identification, rumination, and feed intake, which serve as a consistent basis for decision-making, strategy design, and cost optimization.

Make sure not to miss our next Blog episode for further advice on dairy farming!


Date: 18 May 2022

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