“Our data enables us to anticipate potential health problems in dairy cattle”
The De Jong family leaves nothing to chance. Thanks to their milking robots, they can proactively intervene in case of a health alert and prevent health problems in their cows as much as possible. The impressive figures show that the approach works.
The cows of Hendrik, Janneke and Henk de Jong from Noordeloos (Netherlands) have it good. This is immediately evident when you walk into the spacious, insulated shed. The outside temperature is around 25°C, but inside, a nice cool breeze is blowing. The cows lie contentedly ruminating, eating the TMR ration or are just on their way to the milking robots. “The ventilators are really worth their weight in gold,” says Hendrik enthusiastically, who looks after 135 dairy cows and 80 young cattle together with his wife and son. “We work with cross ventilation, which really cools the whole length of the cow, and not just spots, as we did with length ventilation in the old shed”, Henk explains. The frequency-controlled ventilators run on the basis of temperature and air humidity. Together with the insulated roof, this ensures a pleasant climate in the shed.
3 Milking’s per cow in the summer
The two Lely A5 milking robots have an extra fan. When the temperature in the shed reaches a certain number or the nights are still warm, the fan also switches on. “The only drawback is that cows prefer to stay near the robot”, laughs Hendrik, who also takes the water hose to cool cows down. In this way, the enthusiastic entrepreneurs manage to keep the robot visits up to standard in summer as well, with an average of 3.0 milking’s per cow. The dairy cows are given a heating inhibitor in their feed to keep the feed tasty and to keep the feed intake up. Because the feed intake is considerably higher at night, the family ensures that there is sufficient feed at night as well, among other things, by using the feed pusher robot. In this way, they also keep up the milk production during the summer, which has now reached a rolling annual average of 11,600 kg of milk, 4.24% fat and 3.58% protein.
New health challenge? Tackle it immediately
The de Jong family is extremely enthusiastic about their milking robots, with which they have been working in the new parlour for two and a half years. “Thanks to the data from our robots, we can keep a close eye on animal health”, says Hendrik, who also calls his robots “real gold”. The two robots provide a wealth of data: kilograms of milk, somatic cell count, conductivity, milk temperature, fat and protein content. Together with the feeding time and activity by the neck responder, this produces a list of health attributes. This list is often used by them, also for the deployment of the AHV solutions. In the selection area, with cubicles, feeding fence and access to the robot, is a cow that needed some attention. “This cow had a conductivity alert this morning and a slightly higher temperature. So I strip out the quarter and check the cow. The quarter is a bit harder, it’s a new problem, so then I immediately give the cow an AHV Quick Tablet, an AHV Extra Tablet and AHV Aspi Liquid,” Henk explains. “In most cases I see an improvement in health within a day.”
Eating time important indicator
When udder problems are severe, Henk uses the AHV Booster Drench Powder in addition, as he does, for example, after the birth of twins. “That really is a boost, you see the effect immediately, the cow starts eating straight away”. AHV specialist Daniel de Bruin told Henk that the Booster Drench contributes to the hydration, energy, and rumen filling of the cow. Because of the bicarbonate in the product, you immediately have a good buffering of the rumen, it directly stimulates the appetite and with that the rumination activity. The feeding time is an important indicator for the De Jong family. “If the cow keeps eating, the problem is not severe. If she does not eat, we get a bit more nervous”, says Henk.
“With the AHV Booster Drench Powder you see the effect immediately, the cow starts eating straight away”.
Immediate intervention in the event of deviation in the fat and protein content
A deviation in the fat and protein content can easily cost you 4 litres of milk per cow, is De Jong’s experience. With every measurement, the milking robot shows the fat and protein content per cow. If it is out of proportion, the cow will flag as a problem. “You do not immediately see anything wrong with the cow, but if you wait you will notice that she is losing condition”, says Henk. “If the fat/protein ratio is skewed, the cow immediately receives an AHV Booster tablet. “In this way you help the cow through the most important days. You can actually see the fat/protein ratio improving again”, says Henk, who can prevent worse problems this way.
“You can actually see the fat-protein ratio improving again”.
No stress for cow and dairy farmer
Keeping cows healthy is what Hendrik and Henk do every day. “We just try to do everything right for our cows and they give that back to us,” says Hendrik modestly. The family is well versed in the business, as is evident when you look around the shed and see the figures. They have been using AHV solutions for two and a half years now. And they really worth their weight in gold! “Tackling problems at an early stage works so well”, says Hendrik enthusiastically, who wants to continue to improve animal health on the farm.
More peace, less stress
“Because the data from the robot allows us to be so on top of things, that is also part of the success of the AHV solutions. Of course, the solutions cost money, but we look at what it gives us. I maybe even use one treatment too many once in a while,” says Hendrik. The AHV solutions result in fewer health problems. “You do not have to inject, administering orally gives much more peace and less stress, both for cow and dairy farmer. And you have no worries because you can just use all the milk. It pays off down the line, otherwise I would have stopped doing it already.” When we walk back later, we also look at the separation room. There, the cow with the conductivity rating is already happily ruminating again. So, Hendrik opens the gates again, she can go back into the herd!
About VOF de Jong
Hendrik, Janneke and Henk de Jong have a dairy farm in Noordeloos (ZH, the Netherlands) with 135 dairy and veal cows and 80 young cattle. VOF De Jong has 75 hectares in use, of which 13.5 hectares is maize land. The rolling annual average is 11,600 kg of milk, with 4.24% fat and 3.58% protein. The animal dosage is 1.2.