Background

Caveview Farm, owned by Brendan and Amanda Ashby, with Brendan’s parents, Trevor and Anne, was established in Allendale East, in South Australia, in the mid-1900s by Brendan’s grandparents. Today, the farm milks 350 cows and carries 250 heifers on 794 acres of land.

As a rotational grazing farm, effectively picking up heats and health issues, without too many false positives, is a constant challenge at Caveview. According to Brendan, one of his biggest issues has been getting cows back into calf as quickly as possible after calving. Brendan also wanted to improve health management on the farm. He says: "I found we were culling a lot of good cows because they weren’t getting into calf, and I wanted to minimise that."

Challenges

Brendan and his father decided to implement the SCR Heatime HR LD Pro System after consulting with their local Semex representative. The SCR system’s unique rumination monitoring capabilities were a major factor in the decision, as Brendan says: "We believe rumination has a lot to do with heat; it’s another tool to try and help.” Just two weeks after installing the SCR system, Caveview got rid of its visual heat detection aids, and began relying entirely on Heatime technology. Now, nine months later, all 350 of his milking cows are wearing HR LD tags. There is also a tag on one maiden heifer – a trial to see if the system helps in getting her to first calving earlier.

"Getting cows in calf is a really big issue, so I say, just put the Heatime System in, because it’s going to pay for itself in 2-3 years, by taking out all the guessing factors."
Brendan Ashby, Co-Owner, Caveview Farm

System

Overall, Brendan and his family now enjoy true peace-of-mind, as they no longer have to question what’s going on with their cows. As Brendan says: “You just see it in the reports.” Brendan has found that the SCR Heatime System does an excellent job of picking up heats and health issues, with few false positives. Importantly, when there are false positives, such as when cows move around more than usual, the system accounts for the false readings and easily interprets them. With the SCR technology, Brendan has a better idea of each cow’s readiness for AI, and is better able to defne the mating time. “At around 21-30 days we are making sure they are cycling properly and have had a heat. Then when we get to 60 days, we know that everything is working properly, so that on the frst heat we can get the cow into calf,” he says. The SCR Heatime HR LD Pro System has also proven effective in helping Brendan identify mastitis early. “With the rumination monitoring, we’re catching mastitis when the somatic cell count is around 110-120 instead of around 300. This means the cow can get treatment earlier and milk production is not as affected.”

AT A GLANCE

Farm: Caveview Farm
Location: Allendale East, South Australia
Herd size: 350 milking cows and 250 heifers

Challenges

  • Significantly reduce average calving interval
  • Expand herd through natural growth
  • Identify optimal time for insemination
  • Make better informed decisions about culling System
  • SCR Heatime® Pro System using HR LD tags for rumination, heat detection and cow identification Benefits
  • More accurate heat identification, including ability to pinpoint the optimal time for AI
  • Number of semen straws per cow reduced from 3-4 to 1.5-2, in nine months
  • Able to spot health issues like ketosis and mastitis much earlier to rumination monitoring
  • Increased milk production
  • $3,000 savings per year on heat detection patches alone