Sensor technology in dairy production with a focus on Herd Navigator

Author: Annica Hansson (Växa Sverige) - August 9, 2017

The objective of the 4D4F event at Peter Karlsson, Ådalen (Sweden) was to gather a group of people with different backgrounds but with a common interest in DeLaval's Herd Navigator (HN), and to increase everyone's knowledge about the HN. The group consisted of farmers (both users and potential future users), advisors, veterinarians, suppliers and researchers.

For the dairymen who already have installed HN on their farm and who have experience using it, the overall aim was to get more input from advisors and the suppliers to increase their skill in using the system. For the other participants, the aim was to get information and increased awareness about how technology and/or the settings can be improved to increase the total benefit for the farmer.

At the farm, the technology and practical use was well described. Pros and cons were well presented and we exchanged ideas and had very good discussions. A very concrete wish from the farmer is that he wants a direct “action function” in the stable as a result of an alarm. For instance he wants an application in the barn that connects to the gates and automatically separate cows in heat into the special insemination area.

Overall, the farmer is very happy with the system; it saves time because he doesn´t need to do the traditional heat-checking anymore. The HN catches every cow, even those that are not showing visual signs of heat. Herd Navigator also identifies the pregnant cows, and the farmer no longer relies on any external service for pregnancy diagnosis. Result regarding fertility at the farm is excellent, with a submission rate over 80 % and conception rate close to 50 %, among cows according to the recordings in the cow data base via milk recording system. He also finds early indications of mastitis, and he can use preventative measures, such as liniment, and thereby reduce the use of antibiotics.