Having an additional eye looking over their 350 cows

David Melody manages the 350-cow spring calving herd at Beechgrove Farm, near Clara in Co. Kilkenny. The herd of crossbred cows averaged 6,500 litres in 2020 producing 540kg of milk solids, supplying their milk to Glanbia.

Why SenseHub?

“In March 2020, we invested in SenseHub heat detection collars, combined with SenseHub’s automatic drafting system. We looked at a wide variety of options, but decided on SenseHub due to the long history of the product in Ireland (the updated version of Heatime) and the accuracy of the collars to identify cows in heat. The collars are automatically connected to the drafting system, which works very well together. The back-up service was another key reason why we decided to go with the SenseHub system,” remarked David.

 When the cows come out of the parlour, they go through a footbath and then into the drafting system. “It saves us so much time and stress in drafting cows. The drafting system is integrated with the SenseHub collars, so the cows in heat are automatically drafted into the pen after each milking during the breeding season. In addition, we use it to manually draft out lame cows, cows to be dried off or any cows that need to be looked at,” continues David.

Performance of the system

“We were very impressed with our first year’s results, with 80% of our cows calving in six weeks. We know this year, when we are fully into the system, that the target is for 90% to calve in the first six weeks next year. In addition, this spring we updated the system with health monitoring, added to help us to identify any sick cows. It’s already identified cows with milk fever and every day we get more and more confident in the system. It’s like having another labour unit on the farm watching over the cows and letting us know what cows need attention each day.”

 “We find it very easy to use the SenseHub app, it prompts us of the cows that we need to look at. The reports on cycling cows, anoestrus cows and pregnant cows are all very useful,” said David.