The new era of electronic beef cow calf monitoring
How to stay on top of things and boost farm productivity
Technology-based management tools for cow-calf operations
To remain competitive in today’s challenging market, many beef breeding farmers are spending their days juggling between their cow-calf operations, their responsibilities at home, and more. Some even need to take on a second job to make ends meet. To help them stay on top of things and boost farm productivity, they can adopt beef cattle management software solutions. A key part of that should be an advanced cow monitoring solution that tracks and monitors reproduction to optimize conception rates, reduce calving intervals, reduce skilled labor requirements, get more calves per year, and save time.
Technology-based management tools for cow-calf operations are fairly new but the challenges they address are common to most beef cattle farmers. Under pressure to increase output even as resources remain limited, they need to improve heat detection accuracy, boost reproduction rates, reduce dependency on skilled labor, and find more time to do other things on the farm.
Some farmers even need to take on extra work to make ends meet. So, in addition to the challenges of modern-day beef cattle farming, they also find themselves juggling their farming work with the demands of another job. Take this hypothetic scenario for example, which is an amalgamation of a few farmers who I know very well.
Picture this: The beef-breeding farmer who lives next door to you (let’s call him Rick) is having dinner with his family. He seems relaxed, which is strange because you know Rick, and you don’t remember him ever appearing relaxed. Last time you saw him, he was rushing off to his second job and barely raised his head to say hello. He’s always on the go, as are most of the cow-calf farm owners in your area. So what’s changed? Let’s backtrack a bit to find out.
A few weeks earlier…
Rick’s alarm clock goes off at the crack of dawn and he gets up to make himself a cup of coffee that will probably sit half-full on the kitchen counter until he gets home later that night. His office clothes are already laid out because he knows he’ll only have a few minutes to change into them later. Like many cow-calf farm operators, he had to take on another job a few years back, and while it’s been a huge help financially, it’s hard to juggle all the time.
When he gets to the pastures, his team is already there with some of the heifers. Nowadays it’s hard to find skilled workers who can properly recognize cows in heat and he knows he’s lucky to have them on board.
Maybe they’ll even get lucky and have more calves than they did last year. They’ve had their fair share of misses lately and he really can’t afford to sell or cull any more cows because they aren’t getting pregnant. He’s sure there must be a more accurate way to detect heat but for now, he’ll have to stick with what he knows, which is watching the heifers and cows closely for any signs of heat, and then letting the bulls take over.
With the farm day off to a routine start, Rick leaves his team to it, and rushes back to the house to change for his other job. At the office, he’s got half his mind on wondering what’s happening at the farm. As soon as office hours are over, he’s out the door, on his way back to check in on his cows. Every night, he falls into bed exhausted, wondering how long he can carry on like this.
But the next day at the office, something happens that will eventually change how he manages his cattle farm. Rick overhears a colleague talking about how his friend, also a beef breeder, recently started using a beef cattle management software solution that gives him more control of his farm, even when he isn’t physically there, and has already significantly improved his breeding rates. That night, Rick mentions the conversation to his wife and they decide to explore their options farther.
At first, they look into comprehensive beef cattle management software solutions. However, after understanding that these solutions include lots of different components, they realize that what they really need, at least as a first stage, is an advanced beef cattle monitoring solution. This will hopefully help them detect heat more accurately and improve the reproduction rates on the farm – because that is the key to improving their profitability in the long-term. They do more research, ask for recommendations from colleagues and friends, and finally decide to go with the Allflex SenseHub™ Beef cow calf monitoring solution, in large part because it meets their current needs, but is also flexible enough to meet their future needs once their herd grows.
What is Allflex SenseHub™ Beef and how can it help beef cattle farmers improve breeding decisions and maximize productivity and profitability?
Let’s leave Rick to it for now and come back to reality, which isn’t that different from what I just described. Even though Rick is a fictional character, he represents many farmers I know today who spend their days juggling between their beef breeding operations, their responsibilities at home, administrative and business aspects, and sometimes even a second job. One of the main things I hear most from them is that they need a way to streamline their operations while also maximizing productivity on their farms.
With the Allflex SenseHub™ Beef cow monitoring solution, farmers can benefit from a new management approach to beef cattle breeding operations – one that can help them improve their breeding decisions to maximize productivity in AI and natural breeding farms (mother-calf operations, for both penned and grazing cows.
The solution uses market-proven algorithms to track, monitor, and analyze cow behaviors based on activity, rumination, eating, and other key behaviors. It then delivers actionable information on the reproduction, health, and wellbeing status of individual cows and groups, in real time. This includes unmatched heat detection accuracy, precise cycling information, and accurate AI guidance that helps optimize reproduction strategies, increase conception rates, shorten the calving interval, reduce hormone usage and labor costs, reduce the need for bulls on the farm, and improve the overall genetic traits of the herd. In addition, the SenseHub™ Beef monitoring solution helps farmers to optimize health treatments, detect health issues early, and improve group and nutrition management – all of which contribute to the overall wellbeing of the cows on the farm.
All this while improving the quality of life for farmers and providing them with the peace of mind they need to perform other daily activities while staying connected to the farm from anywhere at any time, using any device, and with real-time alerts when their attention is required.