Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Read about animal technologies that are used for monitoring the reproductive activity, health, welfare status and feeding of dairy cows.

Animal Technologies

The development of animal-based technologies began with individual cow identification and was followed by sensors that measure characteristics of the individual cow. These sensors have included activity, weight changes and blood, milk and rumen parameters that may assist in supporting the health, welfare and reproductive management of individual dairy cows. Many of the sensors that are available for monitoring the reproductive activity, health and welfare status and feeding of dairy cows are described more fully in the EU Industry Innovations Report (PDF, 1.8MB).

  • Automatic gate timers

    Automatic gate timers

    The daily task of fetching cows for milking and opening gates to new paddocks can be a repetitive and mundane task. Automatic gate timers release the gate through a latch mechanism, but can only open gates, not close them. However, automatic gate timers may allow the voluntary movement of cows to the dairy with potential improvements in labour efficiency and cow lameness.

    More information

    Adoption of new technologies: Automatic gate timers (PDF, 598KB)

    Prepared by Matthew Reynolds, Project Officer at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary industries. This fact sheet describes how automatic gate timers work and the implications of installing and using this technology. In addition, Matthew has examined the benefit:cost of this technology.

  • Cow identification

    Cow identification

    Electronic Cow Identification

    Individual cow identification is the tool that enables tracking of dairy cows and their associated herd and performance records.

    More information

    Precision Dairy Technology: Electronic Cow Identification (PDF, 235KB)

    This fact sheet describes two main types of cow identification that have two quite distinct purposes; the official National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) and the within-farm cow management identification system.

  • Heat detection activity meters

    Heat detection activity meters

    The majority of automated heat detection systems in Australia work by monitoring cow activity. These automated systems have been developed to detect increased activity either as steps or neck movements.

    A Fact sheet has been prepared that describes how the activity meter works and how dairy farmers can use the information generated by the technology.

    More information

    Precision dairy technology: Heat detection activity meters (PDF, 1.2MB)

    Contact details of the major suppliers, together with approximate cost and other relevant information.

    Guide to Automated Heat Detection Technologies (PDF, 3.7MB)

    More detailed information on the various automated heat detection technologies currently available in Australia.

    Case Studies

    These case studies describe how dairy farmers have implemented activity meters on their own farm and their experiences with this technology. This information is presented as both a short two page document and a recorded video with the dairy farmer.

    Mark Billing, Colac, Victoria

    Craiglands Dairy is a family owned partnership consisting of Mark Billing and his wife. They milk about 450 cows on 280 hectares dryland milking platform about 5 km west of Colac in Victoria.

    Precision dairy technology: Heat detection activity meters: Case study: Mark Billing (PDF, 1.5MB)

    John van Adrichem, Togari, Tasmania

    John and Caroline van Adrichem and their son Arjan milk about 255 cows with four robots on their 80 hectare dryland milking platform at Togari in Tasmania.

    Precision dairy technology: Heat detection activity meters: Case study: John and Caroline van Adrichem (PDF, 1.4MB)

  • Pregnancy diagnosis

    Laboratory Tests for Pregnancy Diagnosis in Dairy Cows

    Reliable methods for detecting early pregnancy in dairy cows include rectal palpation, ultra sound examination and laboratory-based tests that target proteins or hormones that become elevated in blood and/or milk during pregnancy.

    More information

    Laboratory tests for pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows (PDF, 1.5MB)

    This fact sheet describes the range of laboratory tests for pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows that are commercially available in Australia. Contact details of the major suppliers of the tests and the pros and cons of laboratory testing generally, is included.

    Case Studies

    Case studies demonstrate how dairy farmers have used laboratory tests for diagnosing pregnancy in their cows, and their experiences with this technology.

    Greg Rogers, Katunga, Victoria

    Greg Rogers milks 260 cows, mainly Friesians with a few Jerseys at Katunga in northern Victoria. 

    Case Study: Greg Rogers: Laboratory tests for pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows (PDF, 2MB)

    Pam Malcolm, Invergordon, Victoria

    Pam Malcolm has been running Paringa Holsteins, in northern Victoria, since 1982. She milks 200 cows in a split-calving system.

    Case Study: Pam Malcolm: Laboratory tests for pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cows (PDF, 552KB)

  • Walkover weigh scale system

    Walkover weigh scale systems

    Walkover weighing technology is commercially available in several Australian livestock industries, including dairy. Walkover weigh scales are designed to sit in the exit race of a dairy and weigh cows as they leave the dairy after each milking.

    More information

    Precision dairy technology: Walkover weigh scale systems (PDF, 3.0MB)

    This fact sheet describes how the walkover weigh scales work and how dairy farmers can use the information generated by the technology. Contact details of the major suppliers, together with approximate cost and other relevant information is included.

    Case Studies

    Case studies demonstrate how dairy farmers have implemented walkover weigh scales on their own farm and their experiences with this technology. This information is presented as both a short two page document and a recorded video with the dairy farmer.

    Mark Billing, Colac, Victoria

    Craiglands Dairy is a family owned partnership consisting of Mark Billing and his wife. They milk about 450 cows on 280 hectares dry land milking platform about 5 km west of Colac in Victoria.

    Precision dairy technology: Walkover weigh scale systems: Case study: Mark Billing (PDF, 1.9MB)

Major Initiatives

Focus Farms

Dairy Australia has established a network of Focus Farms to support farmer decision making.

DairyBase

DairyBase is a web-based tool that enables dairy farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time.

More Initiatives