Data Driven Dairy Decision For Farmers (4D4F) aims at developing a network for dairy farmers, dairy technology suppliers, data companies, dairy advisors, veterinarians and researchers to improve the decision making on dairy farms based on data generated by sensors.

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Case Study: Vel'Phone calving alert

Author: Sarah Dusgate (innovation for Agriculture) - January 30, 2017.

The Vel’Phone calving alert technology is based on temperature analysis. The staff of Shordley Hall Farm in Wrexham aim to insert the thermometer probes in the vaginal canal of pregnant cows 3-4 days prior to calving. Ensuring good hygiene of the device is critical, so all equipment is thoroughly disinfected before use to prevent infections. 

Source: Richard Lloyd (Innovation for Agriculture) 

Best practice guides

Author: Kristine Piccart (ILVO) - January 6, 2017

To help farmers cope with the load of dairy data and sensors that are currently available, we have published a number of "Best Practice Guides" on various sensor-related topics. The best practice guides are currently only available for 4D4F members*.

To access the best practice guides, go to the "Groups" on the menu bar and navigate to your topic of interest on the left-hand side (or click on the logo). 

Do you like the current best practice guides? What's good and what's bad about them? Please give us your feedback on the 4D4F forums.

Farmers in need of time

Author: Maarten Crivits (ILVO) - 13 December 2016

At the Hooibeekhoeve, the provincial extension and testing station for dairy farming in Geel (Belgium), local farmers met to discuss the relevance of implementing data from sensors to support their daily decisions. During the event, a lively discussion unfolded about the potential utility of a milking robot, the possibilities of doing more with data from farming software programs and the role of advisors. The 4D4F team took home some important lessons about labor efficiency and the organization of data management support.

SARA: to monitor or not to monitor?

Author: Dr. Maarten Crivits (ILVO) - 23 December 2016

Subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is a metabolic disorder that can become a serious economic problem in dairy herds. Dairy herds experiencing SARA will have a decreased efficiency of milk production as well as impaired cow health leading to involuntary culling. In practice, SARA is often overlooked and underestimated: neither the treatment costs nor the disease costs have been thoroughly investigated. Moreover, from the perspective of the farmer, SARA is very difficult to detect due to its lack of clear symptoms.

Precisely because the disease is so difficult to detect, precision livestock farming technology (PLF) can become an important tool to monitor SARA in dairy cows. But is monitoring also the most economical choice?