Three new enhancements to the CowAlert behaviour monitoring system further help farmers to manage herd fertility, and to manage and monitor lameness.
The Edinburgh-based developer of CowAlert, IceRobotics, has now introduced: a new movement sensor called the I-Qube 9; enhancements to the system’s Lameness Module program; and a new Lameness Index.
The I-Qube 9 succeeds the Company’s IceQube sensor and has a longer battery life and a longer range of 300m for relaying data to the system reader. This enables data on a cow’s heat activity to be monitored throughout the day, whenever the cow is within range of the reader. Previously data would only be downloaded when cows stepped over a trigger in the parlour.
Like its predecessor, the I-Qube 9 is attached to the rear leg of the cow to assure high reliability and accuracy. The colour of the new sensor has been brought in-line with the Company’s branding and is now yellow instead of blue.
With the longer range, the behaviour of dry cows and youngstock can more easily be monitored. For example, CowAlert’s Lameness Module can identify animals that are showing signs of lameness and send an alert to the farmer so they can examine their feet. This Lameness Module has been enhanced to allow detailed logging of the cause of lameness and the treatment given. CowAlert users and/or their foot trimmers can record the lameness diagnosis and the actions taken, and then schedule an alert for a “recheck” if required.
All this information is automatically added to the cow’s record on the CowAlert system providing an overview of her foot health, together with her fertility history. It will help guide management decisions on recurring lameness cases.
The third new feature is the Lameness Index that provides an at-a-glance evaluation of the mobility status of the herd, with cows being categorised as either “lame” or “not lame”, based on continuous monitoring of their activity. This will be useful in benchmarking herd mobility over time.
As CowAlert is a cloud-based system, all the information can be made readily accessible to farm staff and farm consultants, as required.
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