Before starting to optimize, basic robot management has to be in place. Thereafter you can start to fine-tune. This does not only mean looking at the average herd, but also taking the step to the individual cow. Combined sensor data gives detailed information about individual cow (udder) health. Lely T4C shows the development of udder health over time: in the graphs you can find combined information on milk yield, color, conductivity and cell count. This all helps the farmer to make the right decision.
As an advisor or farmer, what do we look for in general, using our common sense? We look at the cows’ appearance, cubicles, milk filter, bulk cell count, etc. If we look at picture 1, nothing seems wrong with this herd with a somatic cell count (SCC) of 102,000, Fat 4.17 and Protein 3.39. But is this true?
Even with a bulk-tank SCC of 102,000, if we look at cow level instead of herd level, we learn that a few specific cows contribute up to 7% to the bulk-tank SCC (T4C Report 42). Using sensor technology like the MQC makes this cow visible.
Looking at this specific cow, we see a steady milk production along with a few SCC indications and two conductivity attentions. What should we do with this cow? Treat immediately, use Uddermint, send a sample to the lab or wait and see?
Looking at her attentions and sensors in relation to previous treatments shows that the same treatment is unlikely to be successful. It is necessary to evaluate the treatment strategy and send a sample to the lab to find out the real cause.
The different stakeholders in this session, including veterinarians, farmers and feed advisors, agreed that we need more than just sensor data. We need to have a look at the cow in the barn, her history, the effect of previous actions and then use our common sense to make a good decision.
So, let your sensors support your common sense in order to take the next step in udder health at cow level.
Lely Farm Management Support