In this article, we look at the available technologies that could make the 2023 calving season that bit easier.
We discuss technologies in this article such as the famous Moocall, calving cameras, as well as Jim Ryan’s latest calving equipment.
With calving and lambing usually taking place on most farms from January until mid-April, it can be difficult to source labour to manage workload evenly across the farm unit.
The current farming generation has an ever-growing interest in technology. Now is the time to utilise what is available to us to maximise our farming potential and returns.
What is it?
The Moocall is the world’s first Irish designed sensor created to tell the farmer when the cow is ready to calf.
Moocall monitors your pregnant cow so that you can get on with running your farm. The Moocall calving sensor monitors the contractions to accurately determine when the cow is most likely to calf.
A text message is then sent to the designated phone number the farmer assigns to allow you to be present during calving.
According to Moocall, the advantages of this technology include:
- Connects easily with all networks and phones;
- No need for Wifi, stations, router or extra batteries;
- Notification 1 hour before calving by SMS, email and App notification;
- Free application;
- One-year warranty;
- Cost compensated with about 30 cows;
- Reduces calf and cow mortality;
- Save time and fuel;
- After-sales service available by various means;
- 95% effective product.
In many cases, the Moocall calving sensor is more affordable than many camera solutions out there.
In addition, there are no installation costs; you do not need to have any internet in your shed, and there is no need to run wires underground.
The Moocall calving sensor retails from €329 VAT included.
On the contrary, while the Moocall is a trending calving sensor device, other calving assistance technologies can assist with safe calving or lambing.
Using a camera
In many cases, many farmers have a full-time job off-farm. Therefore, it can be difficult for farmers to keep an eye on their stock.
Moreover, installing a camera can save a considerable amount of time checking on cows without wasting frequent visits to the shed.
Hereafter, this can reduce time spent checking stock. This technology will allow you to check the camera app you have installed on your phone to watch for cows calving or otherwise ewes lambing.
A calving camera has several advantages, such as:
- Checking livestock on their phone or iPad from the comfort of their home, work or elsewhere;
- Analysing stock without having to visit the shed;
- Saves on time and fuel by only travelling to the yard should an animal require assistance during birth.
As well as the assurance of livestock monitoring, the aid of a camera also provides added security for the farm.
Installing cameras in areas other than the calving area prevents issues such as the theft of machinery and livestock across farms.
Should these issues arise in your area, incorporating a camera onto your farm is a suggested security measure.
An invention: Calving Assist
A dairy farmer in Co. Tipperary has developed an aid for the purpose of when calving is actually taking place.
Jim’s back pain has inspired the latest invention.
He created the belt which is designed to help farmers assist cows, when pulling calves.
As Jim explained to That’s Farming: “It [The Calving Assist] is not competing against a calving jack. It is just for smaller calves that need assistance. With this invention, you can calve cows easier.”
Keeping the calf alive
Dr Claire Windeyer DVSc, associate professor, production animal health, University of Calgary explained:
“The first thing we want to do is put that calf in the recovery position. That means getting it up on its chest and pulling its back legs up towards its armpits.”
“Then, take a clean hand and remove any fluid that might be in the calf’s mouth. We do not want anything in there that is going to be in the way of that calf bringing air into the lungs.”
Using technologies together
A common misunderstanding when farmers purchase calving equipment is that the Moocall calving sensor and calving cameras clash as an investment.
Often, a farmer, only chooses one technology
Hereafter, both proven technologies help you keep track of births of your farm, but in different ways.
Therefore, it is important to know what you are getting before you rule out buying the second technology.
A camera-only owner would need to wake up at multiple times during the night to check the live stream.
In comparison, the Moocall will send an alert only if contractions are occurring. This alert is raised approximately two hours and one hour before calving commences.
Both devices have many advantages, some that the other technology does not cover. By using both together, they complement each other, making for a more productive calving season.
Should you predict that difficult calvings ay take place on your farm this season, the Calving Assist is another asset that may protect your mortality rates, as well as protecting the health of cows and calves.
Available technology, equipment and knowledge are all tools to protect animals during the calving period.