Read how calf insights together with a strong focus on rearing environment is making an impact at Blaenglowon.
Blaenglowon Fawr is a livestock farm in Wales, rearing sheep and cattle. 100 calves are bought in each spring and initially reared in a housed system ahead of turnout for late summer grazing.
While livestock records were always meticulously collected, a lack of time and resource to analyse and fully use the data was a regular problem. The challenge was to present information in a quick and easy-to-understand manner and help draw out the key factors which contributed to underperformance and variation between groups and between rearing sheds.
Smartbell tags were applied to all the calves as they entered on farm. On the Smartbell Premium app, group data, treatments and weights were added through the mobile phone and at the point of treatment rather than back in the office. This data was combined automatically in the app with the information received from the monitoring Smartbell tags.
Previously, there was no comparison done between the 2 sheds which housed animals and the app provided instant graphs comparing the rate of treatments, weight gain and health alerts between the two groups. This clear and easy to understand information, presented in graphics and user friendly tables immediately highlighted difference in performance and variation in the different shed batch results.
I’d never realised before the impact of the shed environment on the calves, but after seeing the number of health alerts on the app, I decided to improve the ventilation in shed 2 bringing immediate benefits to performance and animal health.
Obvious variation between sheds 1 and 2 led to building alterations and improvements.
We believe that the data generated and collected by farms should work to empower their decision making, improve animal health and improve profit margins.