A new smart monitoring kit from GEA can identify when a cow is on heat and the best time to inseminate her, while also, automatically picking up changes in the health of cattle.

With labour coming under increasing pressure on many units, finding time for regular physical examinations of cattle can prove difficult, which, when disease strikes, can lead to late diagnosis and potential loss of livestock. Early intervention and treatment of sick animals can prevent this, save on vet fees and increase the chances of a full recovery.

The Twose family, of Maenhir, Whitland, Carmarthenshire, who had monitored their herd of Holstein cows with GEA Rescounters for over a decade, had seen submission rates go up to 80% after deciding to invest in GEA’s CowScout, as it offered more features and tracked the health of the herd around the clock.

The system, which sends continuous real time data that can be accessed anytime and anywhere with a smart mobile device, laptop and PC via an internet connection, has an early warning system that is triggered if the cow is exhibiting signs of feeding or health problems. This means that herd managers can react quickly and appropriately – a feature that Iwan Twose was grateful to have when one of his cattle registered low activity.

“CowScout picked up that activity was down and when we investigated, we found that she had mastitis, which was picked up faster than the conductivity measurement in the parlour," said Iwan.

"The eating feature is also beneficial as we have found it useful to detect cows with displaced abomasum very early on. We are pleased we changed to the new kit and it works just as well with cows out grazing compared to those inside on total mixed ration.”

The system measured the amount of time individual animals spend eating roughage and grazing, producing alerts if this differs from the previous 10 days. The technology shows how mobile animals are and if the cow's movements change by sending an alert, thereby enabling farmers to treat any health problems quickly.