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Data-Driven Dairy Farming in the Heart of Darling, South Africa

"This company is a family owned business since the early 1800’s." JK (Jurgen Kotze) Basson runs his farm Ocean Breeze Holsteins with great pride and many years of experience, in Darling, South Africa. The farm is 80 kilometers from Cape Town, on the West Coast. Basson has been awarded with the South African title 'Meester-boer' (in English: Master Farmer) for years on end. "My enterprise is wheat, Canola and dairy." For the dairy part of his business, he uses CowManager to herd his cattle.

With CowManager's ear sensors, Basson monitors the fertility and health of his cattle. He also uses the tool Find my Cow, to quickly locate cows in need or that have gone missing. "Our dairy comprises of 2300 dairy animals, and 930 have sensors. We rely heavily on the CowManager Health and Fertility alerts. And we use Fertiliy Insights for estrous cows."

Efficient and Effective
Installing the system in a large herd like his, might sound like a complicated task. But according to Basson, it wasn’t. “Gerrit Ebersohn from World Wide Sires South Africa helped. The installation was efficient and effective.“ After installation, Gerrit remained a huge support: “He is excellent, at all times aware of our program, and he is very good at notifying us of preventative issues.“ The cow monitoring system was also easily integrated with the farm’s management system. “We interphase with Afikim and it is excellent. We are concerned however for the future, when Afikim structure their program to possibly block CowManager.“ That concern is valid, as CowManager is helping Basson out a lot on his farm.

Easily Detecting Health Issues
From 2016, the herd's conception rate has jumped up 17 percent, climbing from 30% in 2016 to 47% in 2020. Basson admits that working with data took some getting used to, but now he is a fan of data-driven farming and recommends it highly. "You can customize which alerts you want to see in the CowManager web-application and in the mobile app through the management settings. You decide which notifications are useful for you." For Basson and his staff, detecting health issues has been easier with CowManager. "The Health module has been a dramatic help with detecting sickness and mastitis after calving. It has enabled us to manage our fresh cows in a way we never could, made us more aware of the function of our cows. We are able to monitor fresh cows better, diagnose sick cows and pick up cows that are not ruminating properly."

"Helped us become better cow people"
Via the MultiView function, Basson, his herd managers and supervisors all have access to the same data and reports. Not only did the data improve his herd, it actually improved his staff and overall business. "These modules have helped make our staff better and more effective cow people and herd managers." He would definitely recommend the CowManager system to other dairy producers. "With the increase in fertility, less semen usage, and better management of sick cows and fresh cows, CowManager has made our management much more effective and paid for itself over and over again. It has had an enormous impact on our business and no other program can provide the information, accuracy and service CowManager has provided us."