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Using health data to inform livestock production

How technology for monitoring health at the individual and herd levels can improve farm animal management

24 September 2018, at 11:00am

Tell us about Allflex Livestock Intelligence and its function in livestock production

Allflex Livestock Monitoring Solutions collects and analyses critical data points both on an individual and herd level. Individual animal data can be collected on behaviours like activity level, rumination, eating and heat stress. Using these along with data collected from the environment, such as milk yield in milking animals, helps create a picture of herd behaviours and individual behaviours in the herd.

These data, translated into various reports, trends, KPIs and alerts, enable the farmer to make informed decisions on reproduction, health, feeding and the well-being of the animals. The data can be provided via a PC, tablet or phone.

How does the system optimise the way livestock are reared?

In recent years, under growing economic and regulatory constraints, farms have become much larger than they were only a decade or two ago. Farms now have huge numbers of animals, making the direct interaction of staff with all the animals impossible. At the same time, the availability of professional staff who have the knowledge and experience to visually monitor animals is decreasing. The only solution to these challenges is technology.

What are the benefits to farmers?

Our monitoring solutions provide the insights and analytics that are essential for optimising the productivity of every animal, thereby maximising herd performance and helping to ensure a secure and prosperous future for their farms and their families. The main benefits (in cattle) are:

  • Highly accurate oestrous detection, which is essential for effective reproduction, using artificial early detection of health issues, enabling pre-emptive action
  • Real-time alerts on acute health situations enable prompt action to save animal life
  • Monitoring animal feeding and nutritional changes
  • Supervising farm routine to enable large farms to keep standard procedures and detect abnormal changes
  • Easy-to-use, user friendly system with wide option to access it in the farm or remotely
  • Cloud based, integration and dashboard solutions to engage other relevant stakeholders (eg vets and nutritionists)

What are the benefits to vets?

The ability to detect minute changes in the animal behaviour translated by sophisticated algorithms together with the expertise of highly experienced vets provides a very efficient tool to help vets and farmers to deal with the health of the animals.

Cows that are suspected of being sick are listed daily and detected earlier than they would have been detected visually. This eliminates the need for daily visual inspections, which are very labour intensive. The early detection reduces the damage and gives a better chance of early recovery. The same tools are also beneficial in providing indications of the recovery of the animal and the effectiveness of the treatments.

In addition to individual animal health, our solution provides KPI at the herd level to help vets in evaluating the overall condition of the herd.

Who owns the data collected?

The data belong to the farmers according to the system’s policy and terms.

Is the focus on the individual or the herd?

Both. The monitoring solutions collect and analyse critical data points, on several animal states from activity to rumination, on every individual cow, delivering the heat, health and nutrition insights.

In addition, groups and herd are monitored for efficient and profitable herd management with dedicated applications that provide status of groups and herd as a whole while highlighting irregularities in activity and rumination in real time at the group or herd level.

How much does the whole system cost?

Prices are related to the selected solution based on a comprehensive and fully scalable offering. Pricing is based on different application levels and types and/or number of sensors in the farm. In a typical situation, the return on investment of our solution is 12 to 18 months.

Vice President of Livestock Intelligence at Allflex

Matteo Ratti is Vice President of Livestock Intelligence at Allflex and is a member of the executive leadership team at Antelliq, where he is responsible for smart data solutions. Previously, Matteo has been Vice President of Cow Intelligence Business at SCR.

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