Dairy Farm Challenges
Never miss an Estrus event
One of the most important metrics is percentage of heifers & cows that become pregnant during a breeding season. Missing an estrus or 'heat' can delay breeding for 18-24 days, resulting in delayed lactation (a $300 loss), an unborn calf and lower calfs from the cow over its lifetime. Here are some common reasons why estrus events are missed on farms:
1. Often, 'silent heat' sysmptoms can easily be missed by workers.
2. A cow can come in heat at 3 am , behavioural estrus lasts for a short duration. In order to perform manual checks, it would require making an observation every 15 minutes. It is difficult if not impossible to monitor cows using manual methods.
3. As herds get larger, & cow to worker ratio increases, the chances of visual confirmation are reduced.
Studies have shown that temperature, activity & rumination are key indicators for detecting estrus in cows. The bad news is that manually tracking these metrics accurately is not practical. The good news is that Cowlar does that for you!
We're able to detect heat accurately because we employ multiple sensors to capture meaningful data. We make sense of this data to accurately predict the next heat cycle and detect estrus. Once an estrus event is detected, the farm is notified immediately via text, email, on our dashboard or phone call from our customer success agent.
Our proprietary algorithms work 24/7, 365 days a year to always make sure that you never miss a heat cycle with Cowlar
A High reproduction percentage means that your cow remains in lactation for the longest time during its lifetime, significantly increasing your revenue.
Managing a dairy farm is not an easy job by far. There are a huge number of tasks that need to be performed on a daily basis and then some periodically, all with great dedication & precision. The biggest problem with cows is well, that they cannot speak. Therefore, identifying cows that need your attention, keeping a check on their health, feed, oestrus cycle, behaviour & things like stress, fear & pain, all requires intensive labour work.
The problem with labour? Even if you can fully count on your workers to give it their all on your dairy farm, which is not the case in most of our surveys, labour does NOT come cheap. Not to mention the fact that even if they do work with all their dedication, some things are just way too difficult to execute manually.
To sum it up, maintaining a loyal, dedicated & highly-skilled labour that perfectly fits the criteria is not only extremely hard to find but the cost equation can also damage your operations & revenue model.
Think of Cowlar as your cow’s personal assistant which takes care of it, round the clock. Since it’s practically a harmless collar and not a robot, it cannot physically perform any actions but rather tells you to perform them, just at the right time. What’s more? You do not need to monitor your cows 24/7 and keep a check on them manually. With Cowlar, we track everything related to your cow ranging from temperature to activity & cow behaviour actively monitoring your cow for any health alerts, disease symptoms and estrus.
We reduce the labour work required at your dairy farm and the amount of workers you need to take care of your cows. Not only does this rid you of your inefficient labour, it also reduces your operational costs & headaches, providing you relief not only in medical terms but also monetary as well. Till now, we have successfully trimmed down the labour cost by half or even more than that, and we’re just getting started!
We asked hundreds of dairy farmers from across the world about their number one issue when it came to running their business. More than 45% of them rated diseases, their timely detection & the huge treatment costs affiliated with them as their number one concern. Your cow’s health is unfortunately prone to a lot of issues, very few of which are:
1. Mastitis – Causes you a monetary loss of between 100 to 250 USD per cow, each year by affecting milk production & quality.
2. Lameness – Being the second most prevalent disease commonly, it causes huge losses that may go up to $500 per cow annually, because of an extremely high effect on milk yields, treatment costs and a higher risk of culling/death.
3. Post-calving – A plethora of post-calving diseases can affect your dairy cows which may cause a single cow to drop milk yield by more than 200 kilograms per year, making your bear huge monetary losses.
Unfortunately, getting rid of these diseases, especially at an early-stage to avoid huge treatment costs is a far from easy job. The extremely difficult signs & symptoms of diseases make it tricky for you or your labour to track your cow’s health and often, it’s too late by the time you get to know things!
The best part of technology is that it is capable of executing jobs that are beyond the reach of an average human being. While it is extremely hard for you or your labour to detect diseases at an early stage and monitor your cows 24/7 for health alerts & symptoms, Cowlar easily does that using our next-gen sensors that constantly monitor temperature, activity & cow behaviour.
Our complex algorithms take nearly every possible thing into account to make sure you do not miss a single health issue with your farm. This not only reduces your management efforts but also keeps your cows healthy and takes away much less a part of your dairy revenue than normal.
Meet Arslan Dairies in Pakistan. A small dairy farm with just 12 cows who could not make their imported cross-breeds last for long. Fortunately, they came on board as one of our early adopters and since last year, they have saved over a $1000 as a result of happy & healthy cows due to our timely health alerts & disease detections.
Like humans, the chronic effects of stress in dairy cows can lead to adverse metabolic changes and have significant effects on their health and productivity. Unlike humans however, cows are not really very good at expressing themselves which in turn puts a heavy burden on the labour present at the farm.
Cows are susceptible to a variety of psychological stress factors; rough handling can cause them to become apprehensive of people and to be stressed in their presence, and poor housing conditions can lead to illnesses which may be directly linked to stress. Stress can occur when in oestrus, at calving time, when being transported, when being moved from one building or cow group to another, or when cows are being handled in out-of-routine situations.
No matter what the reason of stress is, it causes your cows to drop milk yield in addition to making them vulnerable to a number of diseases. Dropped milk yield and illness put together cause dairy farmers significant monetary losses as well as operational headaches. The worst part? You’re highly unlikely to suspect the underlying cause, i.e. stress, which makes it difficult to make te problem go away.
Science is a beautiful thing they say. Cowlar partly justifies that statement by coming to the rescue of dairy farmers facing such a grim issue which is otherwise, extremely difficult to take care of. Scholarly articles prove that stress in dairy cows can be detected by monitoring the cow’s activity & behaviour.
Cowlar fortunately, does just that and our algorithms make sure that you’re alerted of any stress signs shown by your cows in a timely fashion, making it easier for you to diagnose the reason behind stress and save yourself the treatment costs as well as potential revenue loss due to falling milk yield.
A healthy & happy cow is key to your dairy farm’s profitability, afterall!
You are what you eat. A famous saying that some of us might think is applicable to humans only. To tell you the truth, it extends to dairy cows as well, in addition to potentially every other living thing that exists. Cow health & well-being in addition to the milk yield & reproductive performance are all dependent on what and how well its fed. What is the greatest expense in routine on a dairy farm? According to our extensive farm surveys, feed availability & high prices are an increasing subject of concern for almost all the farmers across the globe.
Farmers therefore need to create a balance between high quality feed aimed at maximizing health & production with the monetary aspects of their business. Not knowing what is working for your cow and whether you’re under-feeding or over-feeding them are some of the main challenges at a dairy farm. In addition, it is hard to monitor how well the labour is doing their job of feeding the dairy cows in the absence of the owner. In-efficient feeding simply induces risk of diseases and a dropped milk yield, both of which are a source of monetary loss for the dairy farmer.
Worried? Simply strap a cowlar to your cow and let it monitor your cow’s important metrics such as temperature, activity & behaviour, including rumination. Rumination most of all, according to various scientific studies, is a true reflection of the feed intake of cows. Based on the data that we collect, we’re able to let dairy farmers compare their cow’s performance with the feed intake being served to them. This helps you optimize cow feed and balance your cow’s health and milk & reproductive performance with the monetary aspect of your business.
"Dairy managers should monitor changes in feed efficiency as feeding and management changes are implemented on their farms. The availability of computer-based corrected values will allow for accurate comparisons between groups, herds, and feeding/management changes"
- Michael F. Hutjens, University of Illinois
Operational issues in larger herds
As dairy farms tend to have more cows, some burning questions related to production efficiencies, cost control, scale of operations among many others come to mind. It is not an easy job managing a large dairy herd, let alone the labour employed to manage the herd. As herd size increases, it gets more & more difficult to keep a track of each cow’s health & reproductive behaviour, signs of stress or early symptoms of diseases as well the feed intake and milk production of each cow.
It is highly likely for the dairy farmers to unintentionally neglect a few cows from among the herd as there is just too much to observe & manage. You could always have more people on the farm except for the fact that labour is now very expensive, not to mention the difficulty of finding skilled & dedicated labour for your farm. As dairy farms grow, so do their operational headaches, overhead costs & farm inefficiencies.
Cowlar was designed considering the dairy practice of hundreds of dairy farmers from around the world, which ranged from small dairy farms having 5-10 cows to large farms having more than a 1000 cows. Each Cowlar is like a personal care-taker of a cow which tends to constantly collect important metrics of the cow and monitor it for health, oestrus cycle, diseases, feed, stress & behaviour among many others. We inform you whenever there is any event or sign that could have an adverse effect on your cow.
As you scale up, you do not need to hire more people to manage your farm because no matter how big your farm gets, you always get the complete picture right on your online dashboard, coupled with real-time actionable recommendations to you or your labour, which makes hiring more people redundant.
With Cowlar, we reduce your operational costs significantly as the farm grows and help you maintain a farm consisting of healthy, happy cows that generate more profit and require less expensive labour, altogether reducing your operational headaches, overhead costs & further increasing your farm profit!
Low Milk Yield
The dairy business is no longer any less competitive than any other highly competitive industry out there. Over the last few months, we observed an interesting comparison between two dairy farms. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call them Farm A and Farm B. Farm A housed a total of 52 dairy cows with 2 workers on ground to take care of them. Farm B had a total of 67 cows of the same breed as farm A and with the same number of workers to manage on-ground operations.
Interestingly (only for us and not for the owner), Farm A had a gross milk output greater than that of Farm B despite having significantly less cows. Farm B then decided to hire 3 more people and started buying higher (read ‘expensive’) feed quality in a bid to increase their milk yield. The thing about milk production is, it is never too easy to figure out the reason behind dropped yields. And so was the case in this scenario. Farm B simply ended up increasing their expenditure with no increase in return, thus further diminishing their profits.
We like to keep in touch with dairy farmers around us and observe their business practices in a bid to hopefully help them get better at it. We approached Farm B with an interesting solution to their conundrum; Cowlar! Farm B, having already invested so much, weren’t looking for an expensive solution which is why Cowlar was the perfect fit for them as we offer the best RoI (Return on Investment) given our humble pricing.
Cowlar measured important metrics of the cows housed on Farm B and guess what we found. Heat stress! Heat stress is known to dramatically reduce milk yield which was the case at Farm B but thankfully, our actionable recommendations helped them get back on track with increased milk yield, reduced labour (they did not need the extra workers anymore) and low operational costs.
Farm B is good. Be like Farm B. Scroll down and click on the pre-order button to get advantage of our early-bird pricing and take your farm to the next level.
High Vet costs
Veterinary costs can vary from cow to cow and farm to farm. Vets are usually the last resort for most of the dairy farmers simply because vets don’t come cheap. For a 150 cow herd, variations in veterinary treatments can vary up to USD 30,000 per year. Dairy experts have been asking farmers to look for preventative and fire-fighting approach to animal health on their farms.
One such dairy expert said and we quote “Farmers need to look at whether they are using the vet for prevention rather than cure; prevention is always the better route”. Click here to read more!
According to our surveys and the business practices we have observed in general, cows showing weak or subtle symptoms are often ignored and a vet is called only when things are getting out of hand or the cow’s illness/ sickness has escalated. This not only astronomically increases treatment costs but also puts your valuable cows at high risk of mortality.
What could be a better preventative measure than a smart collar that monitors your cows round the clock? UK’s National Dairy Consultant, Derek Gardner, said “The biggest factor driving the difference in vet costs per cow is prevention rather than cure and it is still true that prevention is cheaper as not only can it reduce vet bills, it can also reduce the production losses associated with the principle diseases of dairy cows”. (Read more here)
Studies like these have shown that vet costs can be brought down to 1/10th of the original cost and that is exactly what Cowlar does. It constantly monitors your cow’s vitals including important information like temperature, activity & behaviour and keeps you updated on your cow’s health. You get health alerts including early disease symptoms right on your phone which allow you to take preventive measures and save tons of cost on expensive vet treatment.
What’s more? Even if you do need a vet, Cowlar provides you with all the monitoring data to help the vet better diagnose & treat your cow. So what are you waiting for? Click on that pre-order button now and get advantage of our early-bird pricing. Moo!
Overuse of antibiotics
Ampicillin, Erythromycin, Oxacillin, Penicllin, Tetracycline… If you’re a dairy farmer, chances are that you’ve heard of and in most cases, used these antibiotics, as these form for some of the most common dairy treatments worldwide. While these generally provide relief to your cows and come to your rescue, there are a lot of issues known to be associated with antibiotics. Constant use of antibiotics is not only expensive for you but also harmful for your cows.
Each set of medication has certain side effects associated with it, not to mention the fact that cows tend to get resistant to these medications overtime. An overdose therefore makes them ineffective and useless at the time they’re most needed. Moreover, viruses tend to involve as well which makes them resistant to such medications.
What if you did not have to overdose your cows on antibiotics in order to prevent them from infections? What if there was another way? A cheaper, healthier way with zero side effects and higher accuracy that suggests when to finally use those antibiotics. Cowlar is simply tied to your cow’s neck and tracks its vitals including temperature, activity & behaviour such as rumination. Based on this data, we are able to monitor your cow 24/7 for any health alerts and early disease symptoms.
You get notified right in the early stages of any such events so as to make sure that early treatment can be possible rather than having to go the vet which increases your costs. This significantly reduces the needs of antibiotics, keeping your cows away from side-effects and your costs down. In the event that you do need to resort to antibiotics, Cowlar’s health monitoring data can be used by your vet to accurately prescribe medications and oversee their effects for a better treatment plan.
Visibility into operations
Consider a farm we’ll refer to as Farm X for this scenario. Farm X had 100 cows and employed 5 workers to take care of them. The owner decides to expand the farm and bring 150 more cows along with 3 more workers. A couple of years down the line, this number gets to a total of 500 and the owner now has 12 workers working for him. Notice how the cow to worker ratio has gone down from 20:1 to more than 40 cows for each worker, doubling in essence.
And here, the owner has been somewhat generous. Truth is, as dairy farms grow big, having more workers on board is very difficult because of high labour costs as well as the headache of managing them all. More cows per workers means less efficient monitoring as the operations on a dairy farm are rather complex and need to be dealt with on a daily routine. Cows need to be checked for simple health ranging from their temperature to signs of diseases, stress, fear, pain, feed, estrus and a lot more.
Simply checking up on a single cow for manually detecting estrus requires at-least two observations on a daily basis lasting a minimum of 30 minutes. Moreover, if you’re not at your farm most of the times, it is hard for you to keep track of what is going on and how efficiently on-ground operations are being managed. To sum it up, operational efficiencies reach a new low putting your animals at risk and making your dairy profits suffer.
Cowlar is essentially a caretaker tied to your cow’s neck. A caretaker that can accurately measure the vitals of the cow and monitor it for health issues, diseases & oestrus cycle. As you expand your dairy farm, Cowlar makes the job easier for you. You do not need any extra hands on farm as whenever something needs to be done, Cowlar will alert them, which means they do not need to keep an eye on all of your stock, all the time.
Cowlar not only provides your on-ground labour with operational visibility but also keeps you updated with what’s going on at your farm. Our online interactive dashboard gives you a glimpse of your dairy business and lets you in on everything at your farm. Stay updated via our insights & actionable recommendations and assign tasks to your workers right from the dashboard.
We built the ultimate dairy farm management tool designed to address your most pressing concerns. Place a pre-order for yourself now and beenfit from our early-bird pricing. We're just getting started and we'll be adding a whole lot more to our solution as we go. Stay tuned!
Productivity & profits
At a dairy farm, there are a lot of factors that can go wrong which cause your cows’ productivity and your profits to drop. Cows’ productivity depends on a lot of things such as their feed intake, health, stress and reproduction cycles. Certain diseases such as lameness, mastitis & some post-calving diseases make a cow’s milk yield drop so much that you end up facing a loss of upto $400 per cow each year.
Similarly, missing estrus can also take upto $300-$400 per cow from your profit. The fact of the matter is that whether your milk yield & your profits stay stagnant or get worse, your expenditures never swindle. This make your net profit drop and in very severe cases, dairy farms operate at a loss.
But why operate at such low level of efficiencies when you can do so much better with just a minute investment which even offers you the best return on investment? Cowlar significantly increases your productivity as we generate health alerts, detect diseases at an early stage & detect estrus. All of these combined save you tons of money by reducing treatment costs, operational costs such as extra labour & feed optimization.
Our actionable recommendations make sure that your cows stay healthy & happy. A healthy & happy cow is key to high milk yields which in turn yield you more profit from your farm. Cowlar - Simply a device that benefits all!
Low milk prices
Unstable milk prices have been the top-most concern of dairy farmers for long. Milk prices continue to deteriorate in most parts of the world putting an increasing burden on dairy farmers. In the U.S, since 2014 milk prices have fallen from USD 25/cwt to USD 17.6/cwt. Farmers try to counter the dropping milk prices by increasing their milk yield in a bid to keep their revenues steady but the methods they generally adopt to do that are not economical at all.
Robotic milking stations cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and are expensive to manage. High quality feed can only be fed up to a certain point and does not even boost the milk yield as much as it effects your pockets. Veterinary costs are increasing day by day and so are labour costs. This significantly increases your expenses while dropping milk prices just further aggravate things for you.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have something that could not only boost your milk yield thus cancelling the effect of dropping milk prices but also significantly reduce your operational costs? It’s always nice to have more profits coming your way, isn’t it? Meet Cowlar - the smart collar for cow that makes dairy farm management easier and more worthwhile for you.
Generating timely health alerts, detecting diseases at an early stage to reduce treatment costs & preventing milk yield from dropping as well as diminishing the need of having more labour at your farm means Cowlar significantly increases your sales while reducing the expenses. Your cows stay healthy & yield more as you just sit back, relax & make the most out of your dairy farm, whether the milk prices stay stagnant or decrease.