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A Lifesaving System: Teaming Up with Technology

Situated in the beautiful province of Mpumalanga in South Africa, Hannes Lombard and his son Hano own their award-winning family business; Westend Landgoed. It’s a mixed farming operation, made up out of 5000 Drakensbergers, 12.000 Merino sheep, and about 6000 hectares of soya beans, maize, and grass. To top it off, they have about 2000 Holstein and Jersey cows, of which they milk about 1030.

Running the business is a daily operation that takes a lot of time and care. Luckily, the Lombard family has competent staff, with 29-year-old Pieter Barnard as their local dairy manager and Spiwe Nkosi as assistant manager. While running that part of the business, they are supported by CowManager. 900 cows are equipped with CowManager ear sensors to monitor their fertility and health 24/7.

“Before using CowManager we relied on the cow’s production and observation to detect whether she was sick or not. Now the program will flag a cow because of erratic body temperature, rumination, and movement. Identifying the problem instantaneously, saving time, production and in some cases, lives.”

Detecting Diseases & Saving Lives

According to Pieter and Spiwe, the CowManager Health module is essential to their daily work routine.
“Monitoring the herd’s health with CowManager ear sensors is extremely important to us. We could not operate without it. It’s very time efficient and effective. In the past we would have to physically walk through the groups every day to detect sick, cycling and lame cows. Currently, we can flag the cows on the system, instantly decide and act. This saves us a huge amount of time in a day to also focus on other management tasks, making us more effective and efficient. We can make decisions faster and monitor health progress.”

The module helps them discover multiple diseases before a cow gets clinically ill. Thanks to the MultiView option, their vet Dr Frikkie Nel can access the cow health data too. “Dr Nel is a big supporter. In fact, he recommends the system – and so do we. We now detect pneumonia early; it’s our number one health issue. We also detect mastitis, tick-borne diseases, and rumination and digestive complications early on”, Pieter says. ”With the number of cows we have on our farm, CowManager is saving lives every day.”

Valuable Deal That Boosts the Business

The system not only keeps their herd healthy, but it also boosts reproduction efficiency. “Heat detection with CowManager is a breeze. We are more confident to use a dose of sexed semen due to our more accurate timed breeding. Our reproduction improved by at least 20%. It brought down our intercalving period and our semen usage, and it enabled us to use more superior bulls within the same budget.”

“Every dairy farmer is looking for value for money”, Pieter says. “Well, here’s one deal that sells value far beyond the price you pay. CowManager is simple, extremely effective and you get real value for your money.”