A NEW stomach bolus which allows dairy farmers to monitor cow health, fertility and lameness by measuring cow temperature and activity levels, is new from Moletech.
The ‘smart’ bolus, called smaXtec is able to flag up issues that might otherwise go unnoticed under visual supervision, explained Victor Ogedegbe, the company’s veterinary analyst.
“The bolus is proven to reliably alert farmers to fertility losses and disease, heat stress, calving, heat detection; even drinking and lameness issues.
“The benefit of such early alerts can be invaluable to farmers; enabling rapid treatment or action where required, as well as cutting costs and improving efficiencies,” he argued.
A separate bolus, able to monitor pH levels alongside temperature and activity, can also be used in a small percentage of the herd. This measures rumen pH levels to detect digestion disorders and prevent acidosis, with the pH function lasting 150 days.
The boluses are orally administered and they settle in the reticulum where they can remain safely for the cow’s life. “Each bolus has a battery life of up to four years and so it is unlikely each cow will need more than one,” says Mr Ogedegbe.
“From its position within the cow, the bolus will send updates on cow temperature and movement to a base station every 10 minutes, which then uploads the data to a cloud system via broadband or 4G.”
The information from each cow is interpreted by the software and the farmer will then receive alerts flagging up any unusual behaviour immediately on their smart phone or computer.
Paul Redmore, a farm manager at Neston Home Farm, Corsham, put them in 300 of his Jersey cows following a trial of 50 head and has found the calving alerts to be useful.
“It’s the most accurate calving alert we’ve come across,” he said. “Any cow with a bolus has produced an alert typically 12-15 hours before she calves, which enables us to focus our labour.”
The bolus removes the need for collars, heat strips and other monitoring devices and being internal, cannot be damaged by the cow.
It costs from £50 per bolus, plus £835 for the system installation.