Herd owners in Northern Ireland are among the first in the UK to reap the benefits of the Cowmanager wellbeing and behaviour system from World Wide Sires.
Bryan Graham, breeding consultant with World Wide Sires explains: “Cowmanager represents a phenomenon in herd health and heat detection. Introduced in 2012, the system is widely used in more than 20 countries worldwide, and was unveiled to local farmers earlier this year.
“Initially we trialled it in a couple of herds, but the popularity of Cowmanager is growing rapidly, and in a short space of time we have over 1,000 cows monitored by the system in Northern Ireland.”
Cowmanager offers continuous monitoring of each individual cow’s activity, time spent eating and ruminating, and her temperature. The system operates 24/7, and the accurate real-time information is displayed in farmer-friendly graphs and charts.
Bryan Graham added: “Cowmanager is a simple system with three available modules - fertility, health and nutrition. Cows are monitored using an ear SensOor which can be fitted to electronic HDX tags or blank non-EID tags. The information is picked up by routers fitted in the cow shed, and transferred via a co-ordinator to an App on a computer or mobile phone.
“The unique SensOor tag is waterproof, light and durable, and also has an in-chip memory which stores data for up to seven days.”
Pedigree Ayrshire breeder Martin King from Ballymena installed Cowmanager almost six months ago in his 50-cow Kirkinriola Herd. “It’s an excellent system, especially when it comes to detecting sick cows. Problems such as mastitis and upset stomachs will be picked up by Cowmanager hours before the issues are visually noticeable. Early detection results in more effective treatment.”
The King family also manage a poultry enterprise comprising of 26,000 free range laying hens. “We rely on family labour so I don’t have time to observe the cows regularly,” added Martin.
“Our breeding season hasn’t started so we haven’t seen the fertility benefits of Cowmanager at this stage. The system is designed to detect changes in rumination and increased cow activity, and this data will confirm heats, taking the doubt away whether to AI or not.”
Martin added: “Cowmanager is competitively priced, easy to install, and comes with a five year warranty. I check the computer at regular intervals throughout the day, and if there is a problem with an individual animal an alert is automatically sent to my phone.”
Away from the farm Martin, and son Jack, have enjoyed success in the show ring. Jack was crowned Ayrshire showmanship champion at the 15th multi-breed dairy calf show, and their home-bred heifer calf Kirkinriola PCB Joy won the breed’s reserve championship.
PCB Joy qualified for the All Britain All Breeds Calf Show, and in mid-October Martin and Jack made their debut in the showring at Malvern. The Kirkinriola Herd was placed firmly on the UK map when their yearling heifer claimed the supreme overall Ayrshire championship. She is a daughter of the World Wide Sires bull Palmyra Calimero Blackjack.
Cloughmills Holstein breeder Conor Casey is also impressed with the benefits offered by the Cowmanager system. Cowmanager was introduced to his 150-cow Carnhill Herd almost five months ago. Prior to that he was using pedometers as a heat detection aid, but was drawn to Cowmanager because it offered the added benefits of improved herd health and fertility.
“I had read about Cowmanager in the national farming press, and I contacted World Wide Sires area manager Dennis Torrens to find out more,” said Conor.
“I’m delighted with my investment. Cowmanager is a great tool for busy dairy farmers. The health module sets it apart from the competition.
“Cowmanager can detect and flag up sick cows at least six to 12 hours before symptoms are visible. Earlier intervention leads to a faster recovery period and reduces veterinary costs.
“It also means that treatment can be less aggressive than required for a ‘clinically sick’ cow.”
Cowmanager is a web-based system which allows farmers to access a wealth of herd health, fertility and nutrition information. “It’s simple and easy to use,” added Conor.
“My breeding season has just started and Cowmanager is already proving its worth. The system identifies increased cow activity and alerts me when a cow is on heat.
“The timing of AI is crucial, and Cowmanager will help to maximise herd performance by improving conception rates and fertility, and reduce calving interval and AI costs.”
For further information about Cowmanager speak to a member of the World Wide Sires team at the RUAS Winter Fair. Alternatively contact Bryan Graham on mobile 07855 663731, or Dennis Torrens on mobile 07955 999129.