New technology to help dairy farmers identify ‘passengers’ in the herd
14 Feb 2017
Dairy farmers with herringbone sheds can now tap in to latest smart device technology to help them determine in real time – while their animals are being milked – which cows are producing the best or the worst on any given day. And for farmers with small to medium-sized herds, the technology is surprisingly inexpensive compared to other automation products.
The ‘YieldSense Connected’ app, developed by LIC Automation, has been available to a portion of the dairy farmer market for some time, but it now includes new functionality to allow wider farmer appeal.
Farmers equipped with YieldSense® in-line sensors can use the YieldSense Connected app to immediately identify the ‘passengers’ (low value/production cows) in their herds, along with identification of high-producing (high value) cows.
YieldSense is an automated in-line milk sensor that provides farmers with live yield and milksolid results. Until now, the system’s marketability has been restricted to farmers with automated rotary-operated dairy sheds.
The YieldSense Connected app works by capturing information from the milk sensors, alerting the farmer of the results via their smart device.
Results include a summary of the bottom- and top-performing individual cows in the herd.
Graham Cates, manager of a 300-cow herd in Walton (near Matamata), uses YieldSense Connected to record the yield for each cow in his herd. He taps in to the technology for a 10-day period each month. “We record the alerts when they appear. Whenever we’re alerted, we go to the bail, get the cow number, and punch it into the phone,” Graham says.
The information backs up animal management decisions. “It makes our job easier, its user friendly and fast, and now we don't herd test. “We make our decisions about what we're going to do: treat, dry off, or cull.”
The app goes beyond individual cow results. Herd-level reporting is designed to provide a platform for farmers to focus on herd improvement solutions.
A flashing light system in the milking shed is an optional extra. The lights provide milking staff with an additional visual alert – signalling the bottom- and top-performing cows before they return to the paddock.
Paul Whiston, LIC Automation chief executive, says the app is easily accessible – but even better – it makes leading-edge technology affordable for most farmers, particularly those with small to mid-size herds. “Up until now YieldSense has really only been available for farmers with rotary milking sheds that have an in-bail cow identification system. The YieldSense Connected app opens the technology up to the entire market, including farmers with herringbone milking sheds. YieldSense Connected, and the previously released CellSense Connected (released November last year), are part of part of a strategy to offer farmers more choice and flexibility with the latest automation solutions.”
Summary information – how the YeildSense Connected system works:
YieldSense Connected provides farmers with instant, real-time, reporting about their cows and herd and allows for better decision making at the right time. It is suitable for both Herringbone and Rotary milking sheds and connects to other LIC Automation products.