A British company which specialises in milking systems has developed a new pedometer-based fertility monitoring system, which offers accurate heat detection.
Vitality, the new system created by Fullwood, also enables herd managers to easily recognise underlying conditions such as cystic ovaries, embryonic losses and non-cycling cows.
The system was designed and developed by Fullwood’s in-house engineers and software technicians, and offers two levels of animal observation and identification.
Vitality Now is a standalone activity monitoring and heat detection system, while the dual purpose Vitality Plus enables electronic identification of individual cows.
Both versions link to Fullwood’s Crustal herd management software and use a 3D accelerometer housed within a robust, sealed-for-life ‘tag’.
Each tag has up to 400-metre line-of-sight wireless range which enables activity data to be remotely captured from any in-range animal.
This long-range capability makes the new pedometers ideally suited to indoor herds where lactating cows spend 100 per cent of their time within the capture radius of the hub.
The new pedometers are also equally suited to grazing herds thanks to each tag’s ability to store date for up to 48 hours.
The pedometers are also ideal for heifer rearing systems.
The new tags attach to the cow’s leg via a specially designed, easy to use strap, which locks securely into place.
The sealed units have a battery life of up to eight years and automatically download date to Fullwood’s Crystal herd management software to provide herd managers with real-time updates.
Data collected by the pedometers includes overall activity based on the number of steps taken, number of ‘at rest’ periods and total ‘at rest’ time.
John Baines, technical director for Fullwood, said: “Fullwood has been synonymous with leg mounted activity measuring systems for over 30 years.
“Our research over those three decades has shown that pedometers are still the most accurate method for oestrus detection, so it is with delight that we are now able to offer our own in-house system.
“The Vitality system has proven to be extremely accurate, not only in terms of predicting oestrus, but also in terms of enabling herd managers to remotely recognise underlying conditions such as cystic ovaries, embryonic losses and non-cycling cows.
“And with a download range of up to 400m, the new systems offer an effective solution for even the most extensive dairying set-ups.
“By raising the bar in this way, we have delivered a system which gives farmers every possible chance of improving the fertility status of their herd by ensuring cows are served at precisely the correct time.
“As the need for dairy farming systems to become more efficient grows ever stronger, so too does the need for professional farmers to have access to precise and up-to-date information regarding the health and fertility status of their herds.
“This new system takes activity monitoring and heat detection to the next level and will enable dairy farmers to make better informed, more accurate management decisions which will save their businesses time and money.”
Vitality Now and Vitality Plus pedometers are sold in kits which include 10 tags, 10 straps, 12 strap locking mechanisms and a strap cutting tool.
A wireless hub, which can communicate with up to 250 pedometers, is also supplied, and for hers of more than 250 cows the system is easily scalable by adding additional hubs.
Source: County Gazette