Knowledge Center

Frequently Asked Questions

AfiLab is an inline sensor that can detect several characteristics of the milk in real time as each cow is milking.

It enables you to prevent losses at the herd/group and individual cow's level by directing you towards farm practices improvements and/or prompt treatment when needed. It also enables you to monitor effects of farm management changes or treatment protocols.  

  1. You can detect metabolic disorders that cost you a lot of money, especially those that are subclinical and therefore not visible*. Deviations of milk components reveal subclinical ketosis in fresh cows 2-4 days before clinical disease shows. More and more research shows that treating subclinical ketosis improves milk production in that lactation by up to 7%**. It also reveals sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA) which can cause diarrhea, decrease in appetite, and milk loss in the short term, as well as laminitis and lameness in the long term - AfiLab enables you to identify bad metabolic situations early to implement management changes and prevent adverse events, short and long term.
  2. You can detect feeding problems in a few hours, which otherwise can take you days to weeks to determine by clinical signs and milk production drops that already mean heavy economic losses.
  3. You can detect most mastitis events (also invisible/sub-clinical) in addition to improve milk quality by discarding blood residues and alerts for system cleaning issues. Enables prompt and effective treatment.

In a trial conducted at Guelph, the median incidence of subclinical ketosis (BHBA 1.4 Mmol/L) in untreated cows was 41 % for the first 9 weeks of lactation.The four highest herds had incidence rates above 65%. Identification of positive cows earlier in lactation might allow time for prevention of subsequent Clinical disease. (Duffield et al, 1998)

** The costs of SCK in affected cows are substantial and include lost milk yield (up to about 7%), increased risk for herd removal in early lactation, and increased risk for displaced abomasum. (Oetzel, 2013)

You should look at the list every day, in order to treat cows early and get the best outcome and return to production faster.

Very close, when a cow is in "red" in the list, you can be sure that she's in negative energy balance and she must be treated for ketosis. Tests in blood or urine may not be positive because they are much more likely to change with recent feeding or drinking. Watch the Ketosis video for more information. 

The following graph shows a Ketosis event: (Cow 8169, 6th lactation, 72 DIM)

Follow the treatment protocol for Ketosis recommended by your consulting veterinarian*.

Monitor these cows for at least 3 days to make sure they are improving. If they don’t improve, call your veterinarian to diagnose possible underlying issues such as liver damage.

* It appears that a bolus of propylene glycol is necessary for maximum effect, since mixing in a total mixed ration is not as efficacious as either an oral drench or when mixed with a  small  quantity  of grain (Christenson et aI, 1995)

Yes you can. Lactose data is already used in generating alerts of milk line cleaning problems and compromised milk quality. In the near future it will also be part of improved mastitis detection application. Currently you have the option to look at lactose curves to evaluate herd and individual cow's udder health status 

The following graph shows a clinical Mastitis event: (Cow 8596, 3rd lactation, 144 DIM)

Classic clinical mastitis event typical of Gram [-] infection - conductivity and SCC go up while lactose and milk go down.

  1. Use CMT to locate the affected quarter/s – sampling an affected quarter for culture & sensitivity is highly recommended
  2. Use pain relief agent (vet approved only) and frequent milking (in addition to routine milkings) to ease and stop disease progression.

* Consult with your veterinarian to establish a treatment protocol for mastitis. Make sure to follow the treatment protocol recommended by your veterinarian.

 

You should check on the feed monitoring traffic light every morning; if it is green, have no worries. But if one of the lights is red the system enables you to drill down in order to locate the problematic groups using milk fat and protein content and their trends. In a few hours from feeding or management changes you will have insight that enables you to effectively react to unfavorable changes in feed ingredients/nutrients in order to keep ration balanced.

According to Florida University tests results, a week of AfiLab sequential components results is more accurate than a single weekly DHI milk test.

We are currently working with two breeding associations (Israeli and Danish) to ensure this.

If the system is clean, it is enough to calibrate the AfiLab units every 6 months. It can be done according to bulk tank or by individual cow test results (loading latest results into AfiFarm). When there are cleaning problems, frequency of calibration should be increased.

We will have a better solution for SCC measurements; we are currently working to ensure that. But in the meantime you should use the highest range of the categorical SCC values (>400,000) as an indication of mastitis whenever it is accompanied with one or more of the other relevant parameters changes (conductivity↑, milk ↓, blood↑ or lactose ↓ [<4.5]). Then you can use the CMT in order to locate the affected quarter to treat. If high SCC is accompanied with one of the behavior parameters changes (activity, rest time or rest bout or feeding behavior) it can serve as an indication of wellbeing issues such as heat stress, painful events (indigestion with colic for example) or fearful events the animal experienced.

AfiMilk MCS (real time Milk Classification Service) facilitates milk supply chain optimization, provides higher value to milk processors and allows premium prices to farmers. It is a breakthrough solution for enhancing milk value and significantly improving cheese production and yields. Milk is classified in real time during milking and diverted to two different tanks according to its coagulation potential, one with milk optimized for cheese production and the other with quality milk for other dairy products. Moreover there is a great value when it comes to sustainability aspects. AfiMilk MCS enables producing much more cheese from same amount of milk. The classified milk also less processed at the milk plant, therefore actually decreases man's footprint. The solution is based on AfiLab on-line optical analysis.

For more details, please visit www.afimilkmcs.com

AfiAct is the first automatic and most accurate heat detection system for breeding cattle. AfiAct II is a highly advanced and automatic remote monitoring system of animal behavior, which includes the best estrus detection capabilities available.

The system consists of leg tags that measure the walking, resting and standing behavior patterns of cows. Recorded data is transmitted through readers to the AfiAct II standalone configuration and/or the sophisticated AfiFarm farm management software.  By innovative algorithms, the software provides users with relevant real-time input.

AfiAct II combines precise heat detection with professional management tools, optimizing reproductive performance.

AfiAct tags are more than just excellent detectors of estrus; they have diverse applications. AfiAct’s 3D sensors provide 24/7 monitoring and control of the cows’ gynecological and health states. The system alerts users to cases of anestrous, suspected abortions and calving, and indicates the compromised welfare and/or impaired health of herds or individual cows.

1. Get a list of cows to be bred on your mobile phone or I-Pad.

2. Receive alerts for breeding in a user-friendly, mobile application.

3. Improve your user experience through a self-explanatory and easy to use interface.

4. Improve pregnancy rates and shorten open days for optimizing calving intervals, which saves money for labor and semen.

a. Make farm routines easier and more efficient: to-do lists.

b. Automatically sort animals to be bred.

c. Reduce stress for animals.

d. Reduce stress for employees (eliminates need to locate and gather animals).

5. Receive input into cow wellbeing and health with graph/curve trends of behavioral parameters:

a. Improve herd/group welfare and comfort events such as:

  • Heat stress or any other group disturbance calling for a prompt repair operation.
  • Bedding quality deterioration calling for routine care.

b. Individual cow health:
    Reveals rest deprivation or abnormal behavior patterns that indicates compromised health.
    Awareness of subclinical (unapparent) health issues enables the proper and most effective response.

Open the list every morning before you are planning to breed your cows.

Breed when cows are on the list for insemination. The goal is to enter in the uterus semen that will stay alive until, and a little past, the time the cow ovulates. If breeding is too early, the semen will lose its vitality before the cow ovulates. Semen will remain alive for 18 to 24 hours and the oocyte will be alive for 6-12 hours. Since semen needs to capacitate (6 hours), we want to inseminate 12-15 hours before ovulation (see-attached picture).

From the time that behavioral signs of estrus begin, there are 27 hours on average to ovulation.

In AfiFarm, the column "Heat Detection" in the "Cows for Insemination" list, indicates how many hours have passed since the cow was detected of being in heat. If you have flexibility in your breeding schedule, we recommend that you try to breed your cows within 8-16 hours of heat detection. This routine will deliver the best conception rate (CR) results.

Please remember that improper semen handling or poor insemination techniques can dramatically reduce the number of sperm cells available for fertilization, thus lowering CR.

The following graph illustrates the right timing for breeding:

Yes, you can. Here is a "Animal In Heat" screen capture of the Afimilk mobile app:

As new cows reach the threshold, they are included in the list. The list can be updated every hour by refreshing. In addition, cows are removed from the report according to recorded events (breeding or heat events) and when the estrus behavior started/ended.

Heat detection rate is a formula defined as how many cows are bred from all the cows that are not pregnant and past the voluntary waiting period (VWP) in a period of 21 days. This includes anestrus cows. Anestrus is the major issue that causes the decrease in heat detection rate (HDR), as 15-20% of eligible cows in the herd are non-cycling. It also includes cows that do become pregnant but suffer early embryonic death (EED), even though they were in fact pregnant and could not have been bred (normally 10-15%). This formula also fails to address cows that have cycles of over 21 days, which is > 50% of the herd, but only influences about 5-10% of the number. This adds up to a reduction of about 20-25% in the possible 100% of heat detected, making the real goal 75-80%.

The heat indicator is a calculation of the relative change that a specific activity represents from that specific cow’s activity baseline during the same time of the day (session). Therefore, a cow with a higher baseline will show a smaller heat indicator with the same activity as a cow with a lower average baseline.

Yes, you can. The AfiAct system has a specialized algorithm, which enables detection of cows in heat even under grazing conditions. This is based on dramatic daily changes in cows' behavior due to changes in grazing territory.
Please watch the following videos:
afimilk® - Pasture testimonials - Part 1
afimilk® - Pasture testimonials - Part 2
afimilk® - Mark Brown from Autaki Trust, NZ Testimonial

With AfiAct II Stanchion’s heat indicator analysis, high-performance, accurate heat detection in tie stalls is now available. Owners of tie-stall facilities have the unique opportunity to improve their herd’s fertility performance substantially. The system can increase pregnancy rates compared to visual observation and reduction in open days is expected when combined with synchronization protocols.

As a result, a tie stall farm with 100 cows may expect to save $10,000 to $17,000 per year. In this respect, AfiAct II Stanchion heat indicator presents a first-of-its-kind market solution.

Yes, you can. Calving alerts are generated automatically, based on cows’ behavior. See example graph:

The following graph illustrates alerts for Dystocia (i.e. assisted calving):

Alerts are not yet automatically generated. You can, nevertheless, use the tags NOW to detect welfare events in group/herd level and health events for individual cow level, using res ting bout (↕) and resting time (↕) data, along with activity (↕) curves.

Example of health event:
The following graph indicates Epizootic Hemorrhagic Fever (according to rest and activity data)

Not yet, but we would be able to provide this application very soon.

This report monitors and alerts excessive activity for cows and heifers that are not eligible for breeding, such as fresh cows still within the VWP, pregnant animals (suspected abortions) and Do Not Breed (DNB) animals. This report needs to be checked as often as you would check the Animal for Insemination list, or at least once a day.

No, it is a very easy task. The system's average installation time is less than half a day for a trained technician.

Buying tags for all cows will allow you to utilize the system in the best possible way.  If you prefer not to buy tags for the entire herd, however, we recommend that you at least buy enough tags to cover all cows from a calving date until they are confirmed pregnant in the second pregnancy check. Since the system can detect abortions in any trimester, you want to keep tags on cows until you reconfirm their pregnancy. This amounts to about 60% of your total cows.

You do not have to. Extra tags will enable you to keep monitoring dry cows. Benefits, for example, health and comfort indications for the dry groups and calving alerts, will far exceed the additional costs. (health and comfort indications for the dry group\s, calving alert etc.)

The range is a minimum of 80 meters (~ 200 ft) radius in a confined environment (a barn) and up to 200 meters (~ 600 ft) radius in an open coral. In a pasture with a line of vision, the system can reach an up to 500 meter (~ 1000 ft) radius and more. 

Lab results show that one reader can handle up to 4000 tags in the default 15 minute transmission cycle. Since distance from the antenna is the limiting factor, a farm will not reach the maximum tag number that one antenna can read.

No, you can connect multiple antennas (readers) on the same farm without problems. The system is designed to work in a multiple antenna environment. The software knows how to process transmissions from the same tag received by different antennas.

Both antennas (readers) and tags save data in cases where they cannot send it. The tag can save up to 11 hours (22 hours in our newly released version) of data and the reader will easily save up to 48 hours of data in an average 300 tag-per-reader environment.

More than five years (our regular progressive warranty is for five years.)

AfiFarm generates reports and alerts that help determine whether any tags are not working properly.

Due to limitations in visualizing activity information, we have an inherent gap of one hour, once every four to eight hours, in the AfiFarm activity graph (intended to be eliminated in advanced versions). It is important to emphasize that this one-hour gap is only visual – the system is still recording fully detailed data. Frequent and/or above one-hour gaps may indicate a problem in the system that your local support services should address.