New app to enable farmers monitor cattle’s fertility patterns remotely

DAIRY farmers can now remotely monitor their cattle’s fertility patterns via a new mobile phone app from agri-technology firm Dairymaster in Kerry.

The MooMonitor app indicates when the cattle are in heat, allowing the farmer to instantly contact the AI service. As US-based surveys by Dairymaster have found breeding windows of less than four hours in 15% of cattle, and less than eight hours in 30% of cattle, this new remote service is already looking like a major breakthrough for the global cattle-breeding industry.

Select Sires, the USA’s largest AI company, which has genetic links to 70% of the Holstein breed globally, is to distribute the new app. Dairymaster is to roll out the app in the US next week. Employing more than 200 people in Kerry, the company also has successful operations in New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Japan and Germany, where the MooMonitor also promises to be a huge success.

Dairymaster technical director Dr Edmond Harty said: “The MooMonitor goes around the cow’s neck and uses an accelerometer to measure its movements. In breeding, it is critical to know the right time in the cow’s fertility cycle. This app allows us to look for specific types of activity, allowing us to know the cow is ready for breeding.

“Traditionally, people put a vasectomised bull in with the cows to monitor when they are in heat, with somebody watching for cows to be in heat. If you’re an AI technician, you don’t have to waste time driving around checking for farms with cattle in heat.

“That is why the 24-hour monitoring provided by the MooMonitor app is so important. You have web apps, phone apps, and it will work on iPhone or android. The official launch is next week, but our trials on farms in the US have already generated a lot of interest in this technology.”

The Dairymaster on-farm surveys showed that there can be a relatively small breeding window in many cattle. They also found that some breeding windows can commence at midnight or 1am, at times when cattle are not normally being monitored.

“The chances of catching a cow in heat earlier is a great advantage. Farmers can judge, for instance, that the conception rate might be higher in the evening and call in the AI technician accordingly.”

One of the world’s leading dairy farm equipment manufacturers, Dairymaster has enjoyed success in global markets for its milking, cow management, feeding, hygiene and animal healthcare systems for the past 40 years.

Two weeks ago the company announced that it had effectively tripled its US footprint with the opening of a new facility in Cincinnati.

Fuelling the company’s global growth to date is the widespread adoption of Dairymaster’s Select Detect product by dairy producers in the US and Canada.

Select Detect is a detection and fertility monitoring system that, like MooMonitor, is also sold exclusively in the US by Select Sires Inc. Today, Select Detect systems are installed in 22 states and four Canadian Provinces, covering herds that range in size from 80 cows to more than 3,000. Dairymaster’s 220 staff in Kerry include specialist agri-scientists, researchers, software experts, as well as engineering and manufacturing experts.

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