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herd navigator


Smart farming with Herd Navigator improves profits and animal welfare

DeLaval announced yesterday that the innovative dairy herd management solution, Herd Navigator, will go on sale together with the robot-based Voluntary Milking System (VMS). The release provides a unique and integrated solution that will give dairy farmers a new level of control over their operations.

Developed in partnership between DeLaval, FOSS and Dansk Kvaeg, the Herd Navigator system automatically takes, analyses and reports on milk samples. It then alerts the dairy farmer to the condition and health of each individual cow. It automatically detects diseases, reproductive status and feeding conditions long before they would be noticeable to the human eye.

Healthy cows make more money

The availability of the system for use with the VMS system opens exiting possibilities for dairy farmers. For a herd of 150 cows , Herd Navigator can bring a net profit improvement for farmers of 250 to 350 Euro per cow per year.

Ole and Annette Lind milk 260 cows at their farm in Nørre Snede, Denmark, with four VMS and harvest a total of 8,800 litres of milk a day. They installed Herd Navigator in 2009 and they say it has changed their lives in a very positive way, as well as the welfare of their cows.

 “Before Herd Navigator we detected about 40% or 50% of cows in heat and now we are up to 95% heat detection. It used to take us at least 45 minutes a couple of times a day to check for cows in heat; this now takes 5 minutes to check on the computer screen. The system tells us which cows to focus on and gives us time to call the inseminator,” said Annette Lind.

Herd Navigator is also able to identify mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a system sensitivity of more than 80%. The system also detects early signs of ketosis and together with immediate treatment minimizes the risk that the cow develops clinical ketosis. Clinical ketosis can result in a milk loss of 600 kg. per lactation.

“I cannot imagine life without Herd Navigator; it would be like looking after the cows blindfolded. We used to go around the barn for hours and hours monitoring our cows´ health and reproduction status. Now we get a full overview of our operation and automatic 24-hour surveillance of our cows,” explained Ole. “As for the VMS, we let the robots do the hard work. For me it is simple, no VMS, no cows,” he added.

Smart farming

The release of Herd Navigator for VMS is part of a DeLaval initiative aimed at influencing and shaping the future of dairy farming. Under the term 'Smart Farming', the company defines the goal as “to accelerate the transition from milking management to global farm profitability management by harnessing emerging decision tools and automation technologies for better quality milk and profits.”

DeLaval Director Feeding & Herd Management Fernando Mazeris said: “Smart Farming is about saying good-bye to risks, guess-work and physical chores to embrace simplicity and precision, sustainability, improved animal welfare and high milk quality, plus better lifestyle and profits.”

Herd Navigator for VMS will first go on sale in Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany, France and Finland.

Herd Navigator has been awarded the Golden Hoof at Brussel’s Agribex in December 2009; the Trophées D'OR (Gold Trophy) at Paris’ SIA in February 2009 and the three star New Product Europe award at Agromek in Denmark in January 2008.

More about Herd Navigator

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