Remote Monitoring of Cows Comes to Beef Industry
Missing heat cycles in seedstock production can reduce reproduction rates and waste time.
To address this need, Allflex is rolling out new remote-monitoring technology for beef producers who use advanced reproductive technology.
With the new SenseTime™ monitoring system, producers reduce the time spent observing cattle for signs of estrus, miss fewer heats and increase the success of their artificial insemination programs.
The ear tags sense micromovements associated with key animal behaviors, such as estrus, rumination, grazing, stress or health events, according to Andy Dorn, beef product manager for Allflex in the U.S. The tags record animal movements, then transmit the data via field stations to an office computer or smart phone.
“The data collection system is an attractive package, but the real advantages come from the algorithms that define what is going on with your cattle and help you be timely in management,” Dorn added.
A seminal study at Colorado State University followed animals administered an estrous synchronization protocol and then monitored them for standing estrus 24 hours a day and twice a day for 30 minutes. By day 5 after estrous synchronization, 95% of animals monitored 24 hours a day were detected in standing estrus, while only 56% of animals observed twice a day for 30 minutes were detected in standing estrus.
On the Job Around the Clock
“No one can go watch their cows and heifers 24/7, but SenseTime will monitor their activity around the clock, allowing you to learn more about the status of your cows,” he said.
For several years, Allflex has been demonstrating the technology on beef seedstock operations around the U.S. These early adopter producers have been able to increase the reliability of estrus detection and reproduction in their cow herd, Dorn said.
Monitoring stress from heat, weaning, health or other events have helped identify and correct problems. “One producer’s cows were worn out and stressed every morning. With SenseTime he was able to see that a neighbor’s dog was chasing the cows at 3 am every night,” he said.
SenseTime technology for cattle was first commercialized in dairies, said Brandt Kreuscher, Allflex dairy market specialist. It has proven useful in monitor estrus for timed repro.
Impact on Advanced Reproduction
The technology can pinpoint so-called “silent heats” and brief nighttime heats, along with monitoring anestrus intervals and stress alerts.
These factors influence the right time to breed cows and can help to reduce calving intervals, Kreuscher added. “It is helpful to know when you need to make a targeted intervention, but it can be just as useful to know when to leave cows alone and let them be content and comfortable.”
SenseTime smart phone displays provide heat-reliability rating and breeding-window functions on an individual animal basis. Visual dashboard reports show up on the office computer, too, and are simple and easy, Kreuscher said.
Movements recorded can be tied to adverse changes in grazing, ration or feeding protocol and response to stress, heat, weather, dystocia, aborted pregnancies, predation or other issues.
For animal health, monitoring helps Identify sick animal earlier, allowing for use of less costly medications and/or a better response to treatment, and identify cows stressed by separation from their calves.
Field Set Up and Dashboard Easy to Use
Tags hold data for 24 hours and then upload their data when they come into broadcast range of a SenseTime field antennae, which is an easy-to-install box mounted on a post or structure. These have a radius of several miles, depending on terrain.
The dashboard has a simple look and feel, highlighting what producers need to see and act on. The information also has views of deeper data for producers who wish to drill down into the details.
Dorn noted that labor shortages in the beef industry can be mitigated with remote sensing.
“Producers in other ag sectors are using ag-tech tools to make their lives easier and run their farms with lower labor inputs.
“In beef production, even on seedstock operations, covering all labor needs is a challenge. We all still love to get out and look at our cows, but we also are pressed for time. With SenseTime, you can do a better job monitoring key ‘cow states’ in your animals, intervene wisely and improve your quality of life.”
“No matter where you are, let your animals tell you how things are going and if they need you,” Kreuscher said.
Connecting Animals and People for a Smarter Future
Glenn Fischer, president of Allflex USA, says SenseTime is a key step in his firm’s journey into the convergence of animal intelligence and animal health, including integration of data from genomics, animal management, health and welfare.
“Every second, huge amounts of data are generated by animals equipped with Allflex devices,” Fischer said. “Further analysis of this data will allow Allflex to offer more applications and new services to the livestock community.”
About Allflex Livestock Intelligence
Allflex Livestock Intelligence, an Antelliq company, is the world leader in the design, development, manufacturing and delivery of animal identification and monitoring solutions. We bring cutting-edge, practical applications of visual and electronic animal identification, tissue sampling, traceability and monitoring technologies to the world’s livestock industries. With some 1900 team members worldwide, we have a global network of experts built up over 60 years, each with a great depth of experience and unparalleled knowledge who act as a resource to farmers, companies and countries. Allflex has manufacturing and technology subsidiaries in North America, Europe, Israel, South America, China, Australia and New Zealand. Our products are distributed in over 100 countries.
Antelliq is the world’s leading animal intelligence group, providing world-class devices for animal identification and traceability. Our pioneering monitoring solutions deliver smart data products and services for the management and wellbeing of livestock, fish and pets. For over 60 years we have been satisfying customer needs in over 100 countries, supported by 24 production sites, spanning five continents. Antelliq has four regional innovation centers and many brands working collaboratively to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges: supporting farmers with real-time actionable information, providing a deeper connection with pets, and supporting conservation. Across Antelliq, our different brands provide the technology and intelligence that will be at the heart of overcoming these challenges. The name Antelliq is the embodiment of everything we stand for: intelligence connecting animals and people.