“There’s a learning curve in adapting our management to the technology,” shared the University of Kentucky’s Joey Clark. He serves as the university’s dairy farm manager and has been around multiple wearable technologies for the last seven years as research projects at the dairy delved into the effectiveness and operations of leg, neck, and ear-based tags.
Clark shared during a panel at the Precision Dairy Conference that across the spectrum, all of the technologies he has worked with more or less do what they are designed to do.
Fellow panelist Jeff Core from Keightley and Core Jerseys in Salvisa, Ky., said their selection of Select Sires’ CowManager program was made based on its simplicity and ability to fit into their system.
“I was set in my ways and wanted to be stubborn, but when the system was telling me cows were in heat and I would palpate them, they were obviously in heat,” he said when queried about what made him trust the system. “We were getting the conception, so there was really no arguing. I just couldn’t argue with the results it was giving us.”
Stacy Sidebottom from Sidebottom Dairy Farm in Greensburg, Ky., utilized wearable neck and leg technologies in his herd for almost two years before a barn fire earlier this year suspended the use of the monitors.
After installing the monitors, the farm had moved away from using lutalyse shots and did very little heat detection. Following the fire, they returned to using heat syncing and detection. Perhaps a bigger change in the farm’s practices occurred in how they handled fresh cows.
“I would only grab cows and take their temperature or drench them if I saw a need, either visually or in the system,” Sidebottom said. “With not having that technology now, every cow gets propylene glycol for five days just to be sure.”
Cow-worn technologies have significantly advanced in the last decade, and after working with these monitors, all three panelists shared they were happy with their decision to do so. That being said, Clark said the greatest opportunity for improvement in the systems is tied to their ability to display the information in a way that’s accessible and easy to utilize.