Author: Sofia Lindman (KSLA & Hushållningssällskapet) - Date: December 17, 2018
In both suckler and dairy herds, the work with calving is considered to be a stressful and risky part in the production. It can also be a big economic loss for the farmer if the calving results in cow and/or calf death. There is therefore a great need for technology that can facilitate the supervision of close up cows.
The MooCall sensor
Today, there are several technical aids available on the market to warn for upcoming calvings and even alarms at commenced calving, for example detectors that measure level of cow activity, uterine contractions, rumination rate, tail lift etc. MooCall Calving sensor is one of these technical tools that keeps track of the calvings in a herd, advantageously in combination with a stockman’s good management or with the calving calendar at the farm.
The MooCall company has developed this sensor that is applied on the tail of the cow and measures the motion pattern in terms of increased activity and higher tail lifts. With these measurements, labor contractions are recorded, and the system then sends an SMS to the farmer's mobile phone on average one hour before calving. With MooCall you can detect difficult calvings and take action and prevent losing cow and/or calf.
The sensor is attached to the tail in front of the vulva using a strap tightened, tightness depending on the thickness of the tail. A rubber lining, dressed with angled rubber poles, should keep the sensor in place and protect the tail. A sensor can handle up to 40 cows, but you must manually move it from cow to cow after calving. Larger herds use the sensor on heifers or cows that is suspected to have calving problems or the cows that are closest calving.
Farmers who used the MooCall Calving Sensor have experienced some problems with the sensor because it falls off the tail now and then. An upgraded and updated sensor with new rubber lining has been placed on the market which probably will reduce this issue that has been experienced. Furthermore, farmers have requested that the company install a transmitter on the sensor so that it can easily be found on the pasture or in the barn if it has fallen off. Users of the product have also had major problems with the sensor damaging the tails of the cows, where contusions were most common. Also swellings and wounds were detected. Some farmers even had such problems that the tail got amputated. Again, the sellers of MooCall say that the product is updated and that the material is softer and better for the tail than the previous version. An important message from the sellers is to attach the sensor on properly. It should definitely not be too tight, you should be able to move it sideways, but when you pull it down, it should not slip down the tail.