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A Successful & Sustainable Dairy is a Numbers Game

Written by Richard Meredith.

Modern dairying truly is a numbers game and, as with any good business, when you get the numbers right it can help you to build a sustainable operation. In recent times one tool that has proven its value for Rob and Jan Mortlock from South Gippsland (Australia), is CowManager. World Wide Sires distributes this product, which monitors herd health, nutrition, the transition period, and reproduction.

Cow Monitoring as Main Tool

By reducing the number of empty cows from 23% to 15% on joining, CowManager has quickly proven to be a very valuable tool to keep their business healthy and sustainable.

“We’ve been using CowManager for about 15 months now and the ease of management is the key,” Rob says. “Thanks to the Fertility Module there’s no tail paint or scratchies used at all to identify cycling cows. The internet and CowManager do it all. They are our main tools.”

The Mortlocks milk 650 cows and Rob has encouraged their employees to learn about and connect to the CowManager system. This then enables any one of them, at any time, to batch enter any cow remotely. Linking via an app to the CowManager main hub at the dairy this then allows them to enter a cow that needs to be drafted during milking either for AI or herd health.



Quick & Early Diagnoses

CowManager's Health Module also allows a sick cow to be detected at the sub-clinical stage. The animal can then be drafted for treatment one or two days before she is showing clinical signs. The early warning system, based on temperature and cow behaviour, allows the dairy farmer to treat the cow before she becomes clinically sick. Early detection can and has reduced the amount of antibiotics needed. Early detection also speeds up recovery and means less time out of the vat.

“Getting a quick, early diagnosis allows us to get straight on to the therapy. When the vets come out to see our sick cows they can easily check the selected cow’s rumen activity and temperature. The speedy overview of the cow’s health helps to see what could be wrong more accurately and quickly than before we had the CowManager program installed.”

The system has allowed Rob to focus on problem cows (non-cycling and cystic) and can rectify any issues before breeding season starts. It identifies cows that aren’t cycling or are cycling erratically, so reproductive hormones can be administered selectively and only if necessary.

The Beauty of Numbers

Knowing precisely how each cow is performing makes culling decisions quick and easy.
“It’s a simple system. With 180 heifers coming into the milking herd this year, it puts pressure on the current milking herd for fertility, mastitis, bad feet and udder conformation.”

"With CowManager we can easily tell which ones need to be culled. Three strikes and they’re out,” Rob says. “We’re gnomically testing our young calves too and constantly working on improving the herd. That’s the beauty of the CowManager system: The numbers tell us exactly what we need to do and when.”