'As in all aspects of life, advancements in dairy technology are allowing us to farm smarter not harder'
The more we utilise technology for enhancing the productivity and profitability of our dairy farm, the more sustainable our business will remain. The benefits go beyond profitability too, with opportunities to improve farming lifestyle and animal welfare.
The latest advances in cow monitoring provides us with incredibly precise information about each individual cow. We can now do things like catch cows in heat or identify sick and lame cows sooner, therefore improving the success of treatment. There's no doubt that being able to follow our animals so closely makes it much easier to tend to their needs. Even small fluctuations in the cows normal behaviour are detected and responded to early before they become significant problems. As a result we have less vet call-outs and antibiotic use is minimal.
We must always remember though that 'prevention is better than cure' and new technology will only tell us when something is wrong. We still observe our animals very closely every day. Farming know-how still plays a role in being able to interpret the data and take the best course of action.
We use an advanced cow monitoring system designed to collect and analyse critical data that gives us valuable real-time information about our cows.
A smart collar monitors and manages individual animal’s health, comfort and stress levels, breeding, nutrition, and behaviour. The system delivers the information we need directly to our phones, when we need it.
Agrinet HerdMaster is our 'go to' herd management and accounts system for PC and mobile that we've been using for many years. The software links the farm with all the key national organisations such as the ICBF, Dept of Agriculture, Bord Bia and Teagasc.
Using the smart phone app, we can view and record a wide variety of data for all our animals.
Our modern herringbone milking parlour gives us high throughput and efficient labour usage by promoting calm, harmonious cow traffic. Milkers can work without stress and spend minimal time assisting the cows in this fully automated parlour.
The system supports shorter milking sessions with automatic feeding to yield, milk recording, cluster removal and post milking wash out meaning cows can spend more time eating and resting to achieve higher milk production.
Through measuring grass, we know the amount of grass that is available on the farm which will allow for better grass management. By recording the data on the Agrinet Grass Software program we can create a rotation planner, manage the grass wedge and draw up a budget.
Once we know our grass covers, we're better able to match supply with the herds demand. Matching supply and demand will ensure that paddocks are grazed out tightly and increase grass utilisation. Knowing what grass is available on the farm allows us to foresee surpluses and deficits allowing us to take action more quickly and deal with any issues.
The three calving pens are closely monitored by cameras that can be easily accessed by phone or online.
In most cases this allows the cow to calve without any interference or distractions from us, unless of course there is an obvious problem.