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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 09 July 2014

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Wednesday 9th July 2014.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Novus International

MSD Animal Health

Automatic Heat Detection: Expensive But Worthwhile

An English cattleman has taken the guesswork out of spotting cows on heat by investing in a solar-powered, computerised heat detection system.

Although a considerable up-front investment, farmer Mike Powley of Elm House Reds near Green Hammerton, York is seeing the benefits already.

He is able to closely monitor his spring-calving South Devon cross Limousine herd of around 100 by reading messages provided by the alert system in the device.

“As a cow’s activity increases and she comes bulling, the system produces a line on the line graph, showing a change in heat,” explained Mr Powley at a recent Royal Agricultural Society of England Beef Technology Seminar.

“It ticks away like clockwork and downloads information from neck tags on the cows hourly.”

Mounted on a four ton trailer, the system is mobile and can follow the herd through the pasture rotation. When combined with the milk progesterone test, it works ‘really well’.

Mr Powley told fellow farmers that the benefits include fast identification of a non-cycling cow, allowing the veterinarian to be called out sooner.

Furthermore, he can spot cows which could previously dip under his radar.

“If a cow is bulling through the night, these are the ones you typically miss,” said Mr Powley.

“Every year I would have a couple of cows never seen exhibiting bulling behaviour but we would see them in calf.”

The current system is the result of a trial and error period. At one stage readers were placed on water troughs, which took time to be moved at each rotation and became dangerous on a wet day.

The size of the solar panel also required adjustment, primarily trying one small panel which switched off at night to extending it with two bigger panels that now power the system sufficiently.

Veterinarian Dan King of Bishopton Vets - who works with the Elm House herd - underlined the geography of the farm as a major challenge.

He told the seminar that the farm’s position near a Royal Airforce base scrambled the readings in some outlying fields on the farm.

Importantly, Mr Powley told TheBeefSite that the system, while expensive, pays for itself.

“The box and antennae cost £3,200 and the electric collars retail for around £80 each and the solar panels cost £400. However, job lot type deals and funding can be available.”

“Missing a cow reach heat at a cost of £3.50 each day saves nearly £75 over a 21 day cycle,” added Mr Powley. “This already pays for a collar.”

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This Week's Articles and Analysis

Improving Fertility of the Cow Herd
Although we hear a lot more about growth rate and beef quality and consistency these days, reproductive efficiency is easily the most important factor determining profitability of cow-calf operations.

What Could China Offer Northern Ireland's Agricultural Sector?
Livestock and Meat Commission analysts have welcomed new of Defra and China opening routes for UK beef and lamb, but stress that direct trade remains some way off yet.

Struggling Beef Farms Need Not Change Tack
Low efficiency beef units in Australia have scope to boost profits without switching to another enterprise, a regional analysis shows.

Cows Can't Get All The Grass
We should be looking beyond cows when it comes to feeding grass to livestock, say researchers at Wageningen.

Company News

Novus 2014 Food Drive Offers Local Children Freedom from Summer Hunger
US - Novus International has last week honoured the generosity of itsr employees by matching donations to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. The company’s matching funds bring the 2014 Food and Funds Drive total to $15,000.

Global Beef Industry News

   United States

Marketing and the Ethics of Big Food
Wyckoff's Weekly Cattle Outlook: Bullish Market Remains
Momentum Remains Strong for US Pork, Beef Exports
Cattle Futures: Markets Maintain Bullish Run, Monday
Cattle Outlook: Beef, Futures, Fed and Feeder Cattle All Break Records
Merger Agreed by Tyson Foods, Hillshire Brands
Cattle Futures: More Records Broken By Feeders, Thursday
Let’s Keep COOL this Independence Day, Says Farmers Union
FDA Reports Full Industry Engagement over Judicious Antibiotic Use


Wider Use of Mobile Animal Health App Urged in Other Countries

   New Zealand

Farm Bodies to Unite on Environmental Lobbying


More FMD Reported in Tunisian Cattle, Sheep and Goats


Whole Animal Approach Propels New Thinking in Animal Welfare
Harmonisation of Vet Product Registration Gains Momentum
Another Fall for FAO Food Price Index
Growing Market for Global Animal Feed Additives
Chinese Beef Import Volume Remains Historically High
Cattle Parasites Among FAO's Top Ten List of Human Concerns


Irish Minister Calls on Beef Processors to be More Proactive

   European Union

EU Expects Good Cereal Harvest Increased Meat Milk Production

   United Kingdom

UK Agency Scheme Recognises Compliant Feed Companies
Female Farmers Important to Future of Farming
Livestock Event Achieves Record Attendance, Up Six Per Cent
ForFarmers Expands in UK with Acquisition of Wheyfeed
Defra-Approved Disinfectant: When and How to Use it
UK Leads the Way on Global Awareness of Antibiotic Resistance
Supermarket Chain Launches App for Cattle Farmers
Do Strong Land Prices Help or Hinder Farming?
Minister Welcomes Increased Exports at Opening of Livestock Event
Calls Made to Produce More Consistent Beef and Shun Commodity Markets
Antibiotic Review Must Consider Animal Health, Say UK Vets


Foot and Mouth Outbreak in Chinese Pigs
China's June CPI Growth to Remain Flat

   Korea, South

US Initiates Discussion on Animal Welfare in South Korea


Drought Drives Supply – When Will it End?
Australian Livestock Farmers Urged to Take Proactive Approach


Retail Chain Allowed to Source Produces from Farmers Directly


Brazilian Cattle Slaughter up in First Quarter of 2014


The Drost Project - A Visual Guide to Porcine, Pig Reproduction.
VIV Europe Digital 2014
VIV China 2014



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