Simplify the tracking of young stock to target weights

Simplify the tracking of young stock to target weights

1 July 2017

The accurate and timely weighing of young stock is key for dairy farmers. Research by both DairyNZ and Massey University has shown growth rates in young dairy stock can have a lifetime impact on milk production.

DairyNZ say liveweight at first mating and calving will have an impact on the reproductive performance and milk production potential of heifers. Heifers must be reared to achieve their liveweight targets; otherwise their first calving will be delayed, liveweight at calving will be too low and fertility during the next mating period reduced. Well-grown heifers will produce more milk in the first lactation, compete better with mature cows and survive longer in the herd.1

Dr Jean Margerison, senior lecturer in Animal Science from the Institute of Agriculture and Environment, is leading an ongoing study on dairy heifers by Massey University. “Weighing accurately is important, and the aim is to wean calves at the best weight for the breed type and the right proportion of the genetically-inherited mature weight. Weighing also allows farmers to use expensive calf rearing feed resources efficiently by not weaning at too large or too little of the mature weight,” explains Dr Margerison.2

Currently, any farmer who wants to analyse weighing information needs to be proficient in Excel or confident using a complex herd management system.

This inspired Tru-Test, as leaders in Electronic Identification (EID) and animal weighing, to launch MiHub Livestock Management. This cloud-based software programme allows farmers to easily monitor the weight gains of their young stock and first calvers to achieve research-driven, breed-based target weights.

“As a developer of hardware for measuring animal performance, we are very aware this is an area dairy farmers can make a significant difference to their animal’s fertility and life-long productivity. Having the weight information, and being able to quickly and easily analyse it, is critical,” says Verne Atmore, Tru-Test’s NZ General Manager.

The software transforms session files into simple, easy-to-understand graphs, enabling dairy farmers to quickly make decisions on young stock management, such as; optimum feed programmes, which animals to breed and when, which calves to keep, and which to cull. The ‘Base’ plan is available free for Tru-Test weight scale users and for a small monthly fee for non Tru-Test users.

MiHub Livestock links directly to Tru-Test’s XR5000 or ID5000 via WIFI and to EziWeigh7i (and XR/ID3000 scales) by using Data Link (phone or PC) or through a computer.

Unlike general farm systems, MiHub Livestock is a specialist weight and growth rate management system.

Early farmer feedback on the new software indicates it delivers what it’s designed to do with comments such as “I can see my lines going forwards and upwards, that’s good! If I can do this, anyone can use it”.

Because MiHub is an online (cloud) programme, weighing data is accessible from any device with an internet connection. If a computer or Tru-Test device is lost or stolen, the files are safe. It also allows users to share weighing data with staff, vets or consultants without attaching files to emails, and to easily print or download reports and graphs in common file formats.

For farmers using Tru-Test devices, you can sign up for MiHub Livestock Management by visiting tru-test.com/livestock.

1 dairynz.co.nz/animal/heifers/liveweight-targets/

2 Tru-Test Article December 2014 - Calf weight key indicator of effective feed system

For more information talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source team or visit us in-store.

Article supplied by Tru-Test Group