Kevin van der Poel, New Zealand

Alkemade Dairies yields more milk and creates a higher value herd with the Heatime® Pro System

Background

Alkemade Dairies Ltd. in Ohaupo, in the Waikato area of New Zealand was acquired in 2015 by Kevin and Cherie van der Poel, after many years dairy farming in New Zealand and the US. They continue to maintain the herd of 400 Kiwi Cross milking cows, whose diet is divided evenly between grass and supplements.

Challenges

Upon taking over Alkemade Dairies, Kevin felt “there was place in this industry to bring in better monitoring of our herds, using technology that reduces time-consuming tasks and allows remote access to real-time information 24/7.” He also wanted to automate procedures as much as possible to keep stafng requirements down. His conclusion: “A cow monitoring solution would make us more efcient and enable better monitoring in my absence.”

“Dairy farming is a challenge as a whole. The Heatime Pro System is simply helping us do everything better.”
Kevin van der Poel, Owner, Alkemade Dairies Ltd. s

system

Kevin purchased the SCR Heatime Pro System with HRLDn tags within a few months of acquiring the farm. He liked the information it provided, and the fact that “it gives us rumination as well as activity monitoring, which we thought would give us great value.” The basics of the SCR Heatime Pro System were easy to grasp from the get-go, though Kevin notes that two years in, “we’re fnding more and more automation in the system that we can use in our business.” Alkemade Dairies uses the SCR Heatime Pro System differently at different times of the year. “During calving, we’re monitoring rumination on the whole herd, particularly our fresh cows to see how they’re progressing, making sure they’ve recovered before they go to the main herd,” he says. “On a general basis, throughout the year, we’re looking at the health alerts, which alert us to any cows having any health issues. And at breeding time, we’re looking at the Heat Report and linking our breeding program with that.”

Benefits

The SCR Heatime Pro System has been helpful in automating procedures and directing attention to where needed, based on any number of parameters. “The technology helps us identify which cows to look at and when to look at them, and then we do the diagnosis. It’s the same with the breeding side.” Kevin notes that, while the Heatime System does the identifying, good stockmanship is required in order to determine what to do with the information. Kevin has noticed that with the SCR system in place, heat detection is now more accurate compared with previous farms he’s worked on. Instead of tail painting, data analysis is used, reducing both effort and the number of people involved, with better results. He also believes that milk production is higher than it would be without the Heatime System. “We’re producing 30% extra above the previous farm record. We took over the same farm and the same cows, so I don’t know how much of it is due to my management, but the system is defnitely helping me achieve these high levels, without me having to be here all day or every day.”