Cut costs, improve animal welfare and reduce environmental impact with Herd Navigator™

A new study shows that boosting production efficiency is key to reducing the dairy industry’s role in climate change

Hannover, Germany (November 17th 2010). Higher fertility and reduced health problems in dairy herds can cut greenhouse gas emissions per litre of milk produced and help dairy farmers run more sustainable and profitable operations, a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science concludes. “Increasing productivity per cow by improving pregnancy rates and reducing milk loss related to illness is exactly what the Herd Navigator™ management system is already doing for dairy farmers today. We are very happy to be able to link the conclusions of this new study to the results that farmers already using Herd Navigator™ are seeing,” DeLaval Fernando Mazeris, Feeding and Herd Management Director, told a veterinarians meeting during the EuroTier animal husbandry exhibition in Hannover, Germany.

Researchers Mitloehner and Place published their findings in the Journal of Dairy Science[1] in 2010 and reported that the key to reducing the amount of methane emitted by a dairy cow in relation to the quantity of milk she produces during her life time is to achieve higher fertility and reduce health problems.

The DeLaval Herd Navigator™ identifies mastitis up to 3-4 days before physical signs are visible with a sensitivity of more than 80%. The system also detects clinical and subclinical ketosis which in combination with immediate treatment minimizes the risk that a cow loses hundreds of kilos milk per lactation, sometimes as much as 600 kg. In addition, this unique herd management system increases heat detection rates to over 95% in comparison with the normal levels of 50 to 60%. Also on the reproduction side, the system detects more than 95% of ovarian pathologies and all anoestrous postpartum, events that impact on the fertility performance of the herd. With Herd Navigator™ the sampling and analysis of milk takes place fully automatically during milking. The solution is linked to data from the cattle database and calculations are made to generate results about the animals’ condition. The figures calculated can easily be read on a PC and cows which require attention, insemination or treatment can be checked or segregated long before the disease, or the heat signs, are even noticeable.

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to grow from 6.8 billion persons in 2009 to 9.1 billion in 2050[2]. In tandem, there is going to be a significant increase in the number of cows per farm around the world as the dairy industry shifts towards consolidation. At the same time, milk producers are under increasing environmental pressure to reduce greenhouse emissions, while more food and of a better quality is demanded of them.

What we, as a company, are trying to do is to support dairy farmers balance the economic growth of their operations with the needs of society, animal health and the environment. We believe these four aspects need to be improved to move towards a more Sustainable Dairy Farming” Mazeris said. “With Herd NavigatorTM the cow’s production potential can be maximised while her well-being and comfort are boosted,” he concluded.

 


[1] Mitloehner and Place, 2010, Journal of Dairy Science.

[2] United Nations, 2009. World population prospects: The 2008 revision  highlights.

 


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