Genus ABS’s new approach to fertility and health management

Genus ABS is pleased to announce the launch of an innovative new approach that combines the management of cow fertility along with herd health and welfare. Breeder Tag System Xtra integrates all of the great features of the existing reproductive efficiency based Breeder Tag System with a new health and welfare application.

Genus ABS Technical Services Director, Dr. Huw Lloyd explains the benefits of this innovative new addition to the Breeder Tag System range: “Fertility continues to present a major issue to dairy farmers. To help overcome the significant impact that poor reproductive efficiency can have on profitability, Genus ABS launched Breeder Tag System – a pedometer based, heat detection solution two years ago. Whilst accurate heat detection remains fundamental to achieving reproductive efficiency, it is just one of the many measures that need to be put in place to help improve a herds overall profitability. Breeder Tag System Xtra not only delivers improved reproductive performance, but it also monitors a herd’s health and wellbeing and when a potential issue is identified the system alerts the farmer, thus ensuring that a farmer has the upmost confidence in the monitoring of a herd.”

Huw continues: “Poor fertility continues to drain dairy farm profits and whilst it is affected by many different factors, reproductive efficiency is strongly correlated with good health monitoring. Managing each of these elements can be difficult and extremely time consuming, but when done well the potential benefits are significant.”

Breeder Tag System Xtra uses state-of-the-art, long-range pedometer based technology that delivers continuous detailed reports for each cow within a herd. The system monitors behaviour patterns throughout lactation such as standing and lying time as well as the critical transition period. For example, an incidence of increased laying down time may indicate that a cow is lame and requires medical attention. When an irregularity in a cow’s activity such as this is detected, the farmer is automatically alerted.

Real-time data is transmitted every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day and with a variety of antenna solutions available, the system can provide coverage of ranges greatly beyond 700m. The system can be adapted and is therefore well suited to all farming systems including grazing cows and bulling heifers, as well as housed animals away from the main holding if specific requirements are met.

“By providing regular alerts, Breeder Tag System Xtra allows the farmer to keep a very close eye on all aspects of herd performance, subsequently enabling them to make timely key management decisions,” comments Huw. “The system is incredibly simple to use and the alerts can be received directly from a PC or remotely via email and SMS. This round-the-clock awareness saves the farmer crucial hours of their time and money, whilst also providing peace of mind.”

There are currently over 10,000 Breeder Tag System tags sold throughout the UK. One of these systems belongs to Alan Newton – a County Durham based farmer who currently milks 160 cows. After experiencing pregnancy rate issues on farm, Alan decided to explore Breeder Tag System: “I went to see a Breeder Tag system working on another farm; I was very impressed and as a result ordered the system. It has transformed our heat detection and very few cows now see the vet for not being seen in heat. I am also very impressed at the accuracy of the heat detection as we are seeing a great improvement at our pregnancy diagnosis sessions. I don’t know how we managed without it.”

Farmers who use Breeder Tag System Xtra also have access to the Genus ABS Genetic Management System (GMS) breeding programme. This not only helps to ensure that a herd remains in its best possible health, but that cows are also bred to fulfil the herd’s genetic goals and requirements of a particular farm system.

“Given the challenging market conditions that farmers continue to face, investment decisions that help to secure the long sustainability of a farm can be pivotal,” said Huw. “Breeder Tag System provides a wealth of both short and long-term benefits. By investing in Breeder Tag System Xtra, farmers will see improved herd health, heat detection, conception and pregnancy rates, all of which will contribute to creating a more efficient, profitable and ultimately sustainable business.”

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