Dairy News Australia has reported on a new product for accurately recording the drinking frequency and daily water intake of individual cows.

A new TruDrinking function has been added to the smaXtec system, afertility and health monitoring system that’s distributed in Australia by Lallemand Animal Nutrition.

The smaXtec herd monitoring system utilises rumen boluses to monitor minute changes in body temperature around the clock. Collected data is transferred to the cloud via readers positioned around the property and is accessed using a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Algorithms are then used to predict cow activity, water intake, drinking frequency, rumination status, oestrus and animal health issues such as mastitis. A dashboard provides an overview of the real-time health, reproductive and feeding status of the herd and individual cows. Automatic alerts and recommended actions can be sent via any nominated messenger service.

Lallemand’s Australian animal nutrition managing director Alex Turney said water intake was not only essential for milk production but was an early indicator for health.

“Water is often the forgotten nutrient in dairy herds,” he said. “Cows need to consume three or four litres of water to produce one litre of milk. Any reduction of intake can significantly decrease feed intake and milk production.”

Alex said monitoring the water intake of individual cows also made it possible to detect and treat disease faster.

“In many cases, managers can detect emerging diseases up to four days before visible symptoms appear,” he said.

As a guide, a complete system costs about $40,000 in hardware and $15,000 a year in subscription fees for a 500-cow dairy.

Read the full story here.