The smaXtec bolus remains inside the cow for her enture life
The smaXtec bolus remains inside the cow for her entire life.

Viking Genetics UK is marketing the revolutionary smaXtec cow monitoring system in the UK. The system is unique in the marketplace in that it measures three parameters – activity, temperature and rumen pH. The fact that these measurements are taken from within the cow gives smaXtec an accuracy and functionality that aren’t matched by any other system.

The dairy cow monitor is said to fit perfectly within the Viking Genetics business, which has a long history of improving animal health, fertility and welfare. Through the measurements it takes, smaXtec is able to piece together a highly accurate picture of oestrus activity as well as infectious, metabolic and digestive health. A further feature that farmers using the system value highly is its accurate prediction of calving.

The system works through the use of an orally administered bolus that remains inside the cow throughout her life. Here, it obtains a more accurate measure of core temperature than any externally applied device. Existing users of the system report that core temperature readings alert them to health problems up to four days earlier than through normal observation. Increases in temperature may be due to infectious disease such as mastitis or metritis that are more likely to be cured quickly and without the use of antibiotics if intervention is early.

Conversely, a drop in temperature could signify a metabolic disorder such as ketosis, or be a sign that calving will take place within 15 to 30 hours. This warning is being used by farmers as a reliable prompt to move cows to calving pens and watch them more closely.

The smaXtec app monitors the herd via a user friendly dashboard
The smaXtec app provides feedback on the herd via a user-friendly dashboard.

Other issues picked up by the bolus include heat stress and changes in cycles of drinking, potentially indicating a problem such as lameness.

Oestrus is also predicted with a high degree of accuracy through a combination of measurements including activity, which is picked up by the accelerometer within the bolus.

The pH measurements from the cow’s rumen provide further valuable information relating to digestive health. This could indicate ruminal acidosis in an individual cow or a herd-level issue relating to diet.

The interface with the farmer has been designed for ease of use and easy integration with other on-farm software. The cloud-based system will even operate, if required, exclusively through mobile devices and without an on-farm computer.

smaXtec global sales director Chris Howarth said the product was now in use across 25 countries around the world, where it’s transforming health and reproductive performance, improving calving outcomes and widely cutting antibiotic use.

“Because temperature is monitored from within the cow, the system is particularly advanced in terms of early detection of disease and irregularities, and is vital in detecting fertility issues,” he added. “We’re delighted to have entered into this collaboration with Viking Genetics as we see many synergies. Like Viking Genetics, smaXtec aims to bring added value to customers using the very best technologies and best-in-class customer service. Our team across the UK is very much looking forward to this exciting opportunity, working alongside Viking Genetics and supporting our UK farmers.”

Viking Genetics’ UK and Ireland manager, Matt Stott, said he was delighted to bring such an innovative product to UK customers.

“Our link with smaXtec is a perfect complement to our breeding and genetics business, enabling us to offer added value while focusing on the priorities of health, welfare and sustainability that have always motivated and driven Viking Genetics,” he added.

The smaXtec system can be purchased on a try-before-you-buy basis, with payment terms designed to be cashflow friendly. Packages are tailored to suit all types of farming system and can cover dairy, suckler cow and beef herds. Each bolus is guaranteed for the lifetime of the animal, and the system can be upscaled with additional boluses at any point.