May 3 2024 02:42 PM

Leading-edge technology provides 24/7 monitoring for better and more labor-efficient calf management

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

RAHWAY, N.J., April 4, 2024 – Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside of the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), today announced the introduction of SENSEHUB® Dairy Youngstock, the industry’s first monitoring technology for dairy calves from birth through the first 12 months of life.

New SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock makes it easier for dairy producers to detect and locate calves and heifers that need attention. Proprietary, science-based algorithms constantly monitor animal behaviors through the special SENSEHUB monitoring ear tag. The technology identifies animals that exhibit behaviors that fall outside their individual norms, indicating they may need attention. The SENSEHUB monitoring ear tag incorporates a blinking LED light so workers can quickly and easily locate those animals and apply appropriate interventions. SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock is easy to implement with support from the Merck Animal Health team.

“This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we raise calves and heifers,” said Brandt Kreuscher, dairy business development manager, North America, Merck Animal Health. “For the first time, dairy producers can harness objective data to find calves that may need extra care and then provide early intervention to keep them on a path toward becoming healthy and productive cows.”

Research shows that calves diagnosed with bovine respiratory disease (BRD) are more than twice as likely to die or be removed from the herd before their first calving. Furthermore, heifers experiencing calfhood BRD have lower average daily gain and produce less milk during their first lactations.1

Calves have a natural tendency to hide symptoms of disease. SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock helps to overcome this instinctive behavior by identifying potential signs of illness, often before symptoms are apparent to caregivers.

The new technology also allows dairy producers to use labor more efficiently.

“With SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock, dairy workers can focus their valuable time and resources on the calves and heifers that need attention, leaving the others alone,” Kreuscher said. “The efficiency associated with the technology allows herd managers to adjust the workflow on their operation and more effectively utilize their best employees.”

The new monitoring technology has facilitated better calf health management at Diamond H Dairy of Chowchilla, California.

“With the SENSEHUB system, instead of looking at 800 calves, we can focus on the 30, 40 or 50 that are on the list every day,” says Travis Hooker at Diamond H Dairy. “Having this technology allows us to more closely manage every little piece of each calf’s life.”

SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock is compatible with management systems involving nipple-fed calves housed in individual hutches from birth to weaning, and post-weaning calves housed in group pens from three to 12 months of age. Monitoring tags are attached as part of neonatal calf processing and begin generating actionable data within 27 hours.

Dairy producers should consult with their veterinarians for guidance on disease diagnosis and protocols for intervention. For more information about SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock, visit SENSEHUB-Dairy.com.

SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock is part of the SENSEHUB family of brands from Merck Animal Health, providing advanced monitoring technology to put dairy and beef producers in control of every aspect of their operations. SENSEHUB Dairy delivers actionable insights for optimal dairy herd productivity and management. For feedlot, backgrounding and stocker operations, SENSEHUB Feedlot can help to detect potentially sick cattle earlier, more efficiently and more accurately than traditional visual observation.


  1. Buczinski S., Archard D., Timsit E. Effects of calfhood respiratory disease on health and performance of dairy cattle: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J. Dairy Sci. July 2021. 104(7):8214-8277.

SENSEHUB Dairy Youngstock, SENSEHUB Dairy and SENSEHUB Feedlot are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease in animals. For the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of disease in animals, you should consult your veterinarian. The accuracy of the data collected and presented through this product is not intended to match that of medical devices or scientific measurement devices.

Photos

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Photo Caption: Merck Animal Health introduces SENSEHUB® Dairy Youngstock technology, allowing 24/7 monitoring of calves and heifers for better and more labor-efficient management.

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Photo Caption: The SENSEHUB® Dairy Youngstock monitoring ear tag incorporates a blinking LED light so workers can quickly and easily locate animals that need attention and apply the appropriate interventions.