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The Need - Cow Well-being and Comfort
Dairy cows, especially high producing ones, are particularly susceptible to health problems. To maintain their well-being, high quality milk production and reproductive function, farmers must ensure the best environmental conditions.
Animals must be free of:
- Hunger and thirst – easy access to fresh water and feed
- Discomfort – appropriate shelter and comfortable, accessible resting area
- Pain, injury or disease – treatiment of health issues
- Fear and distress – elimination of stressful situations; proper protection from predators
- Cows must be able to express normal behavior – sufficient space, freedom of movement and herd hierarchy
Commercial dairy farms face a major challenge in monitoring and maintaining these conditions. As it is difficult for medium-to-large size farms to monitor their herds through observation, these factors are often neglected, resulting in financial loss for the farm.
Cow well-being affects individual animal performance. Health problems, deprivation of resting, poor access to water and feed and high density are all directly related to reduced milk production and reproduction. Addressing these issues directly improves farm profitability.
- Rest time – During rest, blood flow to the mammary glands is 25% higher than during standing. Rest deprivation may directly lower milk production.
- Cow Density – Overcrowded cows may suffer from increased health problems (due to cross contamination), decreased fertility and reduced milk production.
- Health Problems – Poor welfare usually affects the immune system, causing susceptibility to disease.
Direct measurement of parameters like space per animal, cow behavior, group health levels, production etc. indicate animal welfare issues.
In many dairy farms, animal well-being depends solely on the herdsman's sensitivity, which cannot be backed by measureable results.
Afimilk cow well-being and comfort products
Afimilk’s cows sensors measure animal behavior. Automatically monitoring different parameters, the devices alert users to deviations in cow behavior and interactions, and guide farmers to appropriate correction measures.
Our sensors point out valuable information such as:
- Health problems (for example mastitis)
- Abnormal rumination and eating patterns
- Rest time deprivation
- Restlessness behavior
- Stressful events in the herd
- Overcrowded pens
- Bedding quality deterioration
From Our Users
Did you know?
A recent study at Virginia Tech University showed that cows change their rest and activity behavior up to three days before the appearance of clinical mastitis and up to six days before sub-clinical ketosis appears.
Researchers showed that cow restlessness measured by Afimilk indicate approaching calving 24 hours before the event.
Rest time depends on comfort: rest area access and bedding quality.
Studies showed that every additional hour rest (between 7-14 hours rest/day) may increase milk production by up to 1 kg/day.