Robhoek Farm - South Africa
Farm name: Robhoek
Number of head: 700 cows
Owners: Nigel Lok
Breed of cows: Jersey, Holstein and cross-bred Jersey-Holsteins.
What happened was, we pushed our milk production, when we installed the whole system and we got the feeding side of it going and the program of the feeding side to figure out which way was the best way to feed the cows. We had in excess of 30% increases in milk production with the same cost structure.
We've come to conclusion that feeding is the basis of everything. If we can feed the cows properly, keep them on the correct weight curve, that's when we get maximum benefit.
And, what Afikim's done for us is we've been able to calculate and determine the cow's ideal body weight, check her body weight through her lactation and make adjustments automatically to her feeding to keep her on the correct weight curve, at the same time feeding her for production.
The carry-over benefit of that has been an increase in fertility. We brought our inter-calving down from 410 days, we're down to 379 days now. And we've got a huge amount of increase in fertility and like I said, we had in excess of 30% increase in milk production. Initially, we spent a lot of time on it. We spent a lot of management time on it. But we've got it to a point now where it's pretty much automated. The cows that go off their weight or cows that go off their food or production drops or whatever will get sorted out automatically. The system will identify those cows, sort them automatically and print the report automatically so that the stockmen can do what they have to do.
Annual milk production averages
We started off with the weigh-sort system and "Afiact" which is tags and the weighing, so we decided to put the rest of the system in, being "Afimilk" and the feeding system. We've had it for just over three and a half years now.
The complete system has been in for just over two and a half years.
I spend about an hour a day on the system. With "Afiact", it indicates to us the deviation of her activity from the rest of the group. And a cow in heat is always more active. The heat-spotting side of "Afiact", has been truly excellent. It gives us an incredible amount of information about each cow.
Absolutely individual control over every single cow of every single milking and we can manage her as an individual to her own genetic ability. That is the crux of the thing.