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The Need - Maintaining healthy herds
Cow health is a key factor in dairy herd profitability. Cows must be in excellent health to provide high quality milk and superior reproductive performance – and high-production cows are particularly susceptible to disease. Mastitis, ketosis, calving problems, lameness and other disorders reduce production and demand costly veterinary treatment. Ultimately, animal illness leads to financial losses that can transform a profitable dairy farm to a losing enterprise. Thus, to remain profitable, dairy farms must ensure the prevention, early detection and treatment of sick cows.
Dairy herds worldwide suffer losses due to health problems.
- Mastitis is the most prevalent disease among high-yielding dairy cows. This illness reduces milk production and quality, and necessitates costly medication and treatment. The estimated economic loss from mastitis is US $80 to $250 per lactation for each cow in an average herd.
- Lameness is the second most prevalent health issue on the modern dairy farm, with incidence running between 20% and 50%. Resulting damages are decreased milk production with losses of 300-450 kg/cow during a 305 day period , an additional 36-50 open days and 1.45 higher risk of culling/death.
- Post-calving diseases – The post-calving period is the most susceptible time for lactating dairy cows. Post-calving diseases include dystocia, retained placenta, endometritis, milk fever, ketosis and displaced abomasum. These illnesses, which appear a short time after calving, greatly influence cow performance, (including milk production and fertility) during the entire lactation period. Over a 305-day period, ketotic cows produce about 400 kg milk less than their non-ketotic counterparts.
Cow production, milk quality, body condition and behavior provide early indications of health-related changes. By closely monitoring these factors, the herdsman ensures cow health and farm profitability.
- Early detection – changes in cow’s milk production and quality, behavior and bodily condition are the earliest indicators of illness
- Early treatment – early detection enables early treatment, which reduces the duration of a disease and need for medicine
- Robustness – powerful detection methods operating 24/7 point out every cow in need of attention
Afimilk's health monitoring solutions
Automatic data collection is the only feasible way of identifying the health problems of individual cows in large herds. A true pioneer, Afimilk introduced the first solution to compute automated data into health alert indications for specific cows.
- Management by exception – Afimilk identifies deviations from acceptable performance, and directs the herdsman to any cow that requires special attention.
- Wide range of data – Afimilk’s array of monitoring sensors addresses all aspects of bovine health.
- Milk meters measure milk yield and electrical conductivity, which can indicate udder inflammation.
- Milk component analyzers (fat, protein, blood, lactose) point out udder problems, as well as feeding and energy balance deviations.
- Cow behavior sensors gauge rumination, eating, activity and rest times, detecting health problems of various natures.
- Specific and early detection – Using advanced models, Afimilk heath monitoring systems indicate specific ailments such as:
- Afimilk systems monitor milking equipment function and provide advanced analysis models of milk flow and let-down patterns. This is the dairy herd manager’s most powerful tool for monitoring milking procedures and lowering mastitis caused by inadequate milking.
- Early detection of feeding problems prevents metabolic disorders and milk production losses.
- Early detection and treatment of sub clinical events (such as sub-clinical ketosis) prevents development of clinical events.
From Our Users
"The accuracy of the health alert data has been good. Being able to understand both eating and rumination activity will really help me to think about what's the best action to take and when." says Andrew McKay from Broughton Mains (Wigtownshire, UK), using Afimilk Silent Herdsman.
Did you know?
A recent study based on Afimilk data conducted at Virginia Tech University and the University of Florida showed that cows with clinical mastitis had significantly lowered milk lactose during their disease. AfiLab indicated reduced lactose a full day prior to any other clinical signs.
Statistical surveys of Afimilk users demonstrate:
- Mastitis – early detection and treatment saves between 300-400 kg of milk a cow per lactation.
- Acidosis (SARA) – cost estimation in North America is $1.12 per day of disease. (download the SARA: Another sensible farm management solution note.)
- Ketosis – between 10-20% of the cows suffers from ketosis at any given lactation in North America. Timely treatment can save 200-280 kg of milk per lactation for each cow. (download the Ketosis: Early detection and treatment solution note. Watch the Ketosis video.)
- Culling – treating mastitis and ketosis cows can reduce involuntary culling by 20-30%.