Data transparency is key to successful herd management

Checking dairy cow data. Photo by Joshua Herbes

As a dairy farmer, you regularly rely on staff and advisers to be able to run your business effectively.

Nutritionists, AI specialists and veterinarians sometimes have multiple dairies to visit in one day.

Be it a small or large herd, there’s always a lot of cow data to interpret on-farm, and usually only a tight timeframe in which to do so.

There sometimes simply isn’t enough time to spot and tackle important issues, let alone closely track effects of treatments or changes in herd management.

This is where sharing cow data takes centre stage.

Importance of sharing

Insights derived from cow data can significantly enhance herd performance and contribute to your financial success.

Sharing this invaluable data with people who need to be in the know is pivotal in making informed choices for your business.

The MultiView function in the CowManager system gives users access to graphs dating all the way back to the date of installation.

This way, advisers can compare yearly, seasonal and monthly cow data per cow and per group. Recognising patterns and opportunities they otherwise maybe wouldn’t have.

Isaac Korpershoek runs a farm at Forest in north-west Tasmania with his wife Angelique, who is a vet.

They can give anyone access to their cow data by simply adding their email address to their CowManager system.

“It’s given us the confidence to go away, to relax,” Isaac said.

“You can have faith in the system, and you can check back on your phone from wherever you are. We can go to Melbourne for the footy and know what is going on with the herd at home.”

By seamlessly incorporating staff and advisers into the system with just one click, they can provide optimal support to dairy operations, even when they’re not on location.

Real-time access to specific cow data empowers them to meticulously prep their visits or closely monitoring recovery, offering dairy farmers a sense of security.

David Cook and his wife and son milk a commercial Jersey herd of 330 in south-west Victoria. They rely on cow data every day to make decisions on herd health.

“You don’t panic and call the vet,” David said.

“We can watch and decide by the graph if we can treat her or if we need the vet to come. It gives us 24/7 monitoring.”

Sharing the workload

Nutritionist Marcus Hollmann works with a dairy farm that uses CowManager’s MultiView data sharing functionality.

“I really like the outstanding graphs,” Marcus said.

“They capture not only the snapshot of the herd today, but also let me view changes over time very quickly, comparing eating and rumination times.

“It’s a tool in our toolbox to respond quickly, fine-tune the cows’ diet and essentially make the dairy more profitable.”

But sharing data isn’t only just about giving advisers that extra ‘in’.

According to Liam Allan — who sharefarms with Paul and Christine Moloney in Terang, Victoria — it helps to keep the entire team up to speed. Knowing the data is there and that everyone is on the same page, helps lighten the workload a little bit.

“We can trust the system and know the cows are going to get caught, and everything’s right for the next day,” Liam said.

“All that the milker has to do, is to remember to shut the gates out the side. Everything else sorts itself out.”