Measuring it to manage it – improving in-calf rate through heat detection
Third generation dairy farmers Con and Michelle Glennen, who run a 400-head Jersey herd at the foothills of Mount Noorat in South West Victoria, are saving time and increasing joining efficiencies with the Allflex electronic collar monitoring technology.
Originally purchased by Con’s Grandparents Con and Maggie Glennen back in 1923, Con and his wife Michelle took over the farm in 1992 and now run the White Star Jersey Stud, with their two adult sons Jim and William.
The Glennens’ Jersey herd is the number one breeding herd on the Balanced Performance Index (BPI) in Australia; an index which represents a dairy cow’s contribution to the farm business across a number of metrics such as production, fertility and functional type.
In January 2020 the Glennens decided to collar the entire 400 herd for a variety of reasons including as Michelle said, “The need for an easier lifestyle, better heat detection, monitoring of animal health and improved in-calf rate,” which she said, “all called for a better way of looking at cows.”
The Glennens remarked that the system is a more efficient way of tracking the animals’ wellbeing 24/7, compared with being required to physically inspect the cows regularly during milking; or using heat detection adhesives on the back of the cow, two or three times for every joining.
The system has resulted in significant time savings for the Glennens, which allows them time to focus on other aspects of their farming enterprise.
Having travelled extensively through Canada and the United States on a dairy industry tour, Con saw firsthand the influence of Allflex Dairy Cow Monitoring on a global scale. Con said, “We chose Allflex as they have a good reputation. We thought that herd identification, being the core business, they should get it right. SCR by Allflex is a major player in the monitoring space, with a strong dealer network and there was no bulldust.”
The Glennens saw the advantages and benefits in the technology and decided to invest in the new system with what Con describes as “a view for the future with respect to the past.” Michelle said the learning curve with the installation of the system, “was not difficult to learn as we have been using Dairy Herd Management software for 20 years.”
The Glennens have a long-term goal to build on their herd numbers through breeding by utilising higher-value AI and sexed semen straws. Michelle commented that the system’s insemination breeding window indicator will be critical in achieving larger herd numbers in the future, “Looking forward, the future of the farm will mean more cows, and being able to use more sexed semen will achieve this.”
The Allflex Livestock Intelligence dairy cow monitoring solution combines livestock identification and dairy cow monitoring technology; helping decrease farming overheads such as labour, allowing farmers more time to focus on other tasks, as well as promoting the wellbeing of the animal.