Read how WellCalf helped improve calf health and the impacts on growth rates of early life improvements at an organic dairy farm.
Godminster Farm is an organic dairy farm in Somerset, England. They make cheddar cheese and sell this all over the UK (and some abroad too!). They have 320 adult cattle on a grazing system and rear all their replacement heifers themselves.
Organic dairy farming comes with its own challenges (and opportunities). Maintaining excellent animal health and minimising antibiotic usage is a key goal within their system, both for productivity reasons and based upon their philosophy of farming. Calves are most vulnerable to disease in the first few months of life, so anything which identifies problems earlier and allows alternative treatments to help them fits well with both the animal’s health and their farm goals.
There is also a challenge in ensuring consistency of stockmanship when the regular calf-rearer is not working. The alerts help to maintain a high level of care even with less experienced workers.
Smartbell tags were applied to all the calves within 48 hours of birth. This provided constant monitoring of youngstock during the pre-weaning period.
When anomalies in behaviour were detected by the tags, alerts were sent to the calf-rearer’s phone. This provided early warnings of possible disease. The latest activity and temperature profiles for each calf were accessible on the Smartbell Premium app, which made it easy to look up individuals which were looking unwell and see if their behaviour had changed recently.
All our heifers which had no setback had grown at a far higher growth rate than any animals that had a slight setback
We believe that the data generated and collected by farms should work to empower their decision making, improve animal health and improve profit margins.