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21/03/21, 23:00

PregCheck and Sense Hub are a winning combination

James and Cecil Brownlee

150 cows, Northern Ireland

With kind consent from Dale Farm - Excerpt from article written by The NewsRoom and published on @Farming Life

Cecil and James Brownlee were the lucky winners of 2020’s Dairy Herd Management autumn fertility promotion to win 12 months free PregChecks, along with a free Sense Hub heat detection system and 30 eSense starter ear tags.

They later upgraded the system to the advanced package which includes the health monitoring and purchased extra tags, so all 150 cows in the herd are now monitored for heat and health.

A year on from this, James and Cecil are delighted with how these tools have changed their approach to fertility management.

Before the installation of the Sense Hub, James and Cecil used two Aberdeen Angus teaser bulls, which as a heat detection system worked well, however the temperaments of the bulls declined through time and the chin ball they used, needed regular topping up. The cows also needed to be checked regularly, which took up a lot of time and it wasn’t always easy to distinguish how long a cow had been in heat. The Sense Hub system has removed the need for the teaser bulls and after selling the first bull 3 months after the system was installed, both bulls are now gone, with no intentions of purchasing anymore.

The system notifies James over the app on his phone while Cecil receives a text message if any cows are in heat or have health issues. This means they don’t need to be in the yard all the time to know what is happening with the cows. The time saved from this alone, has been invaluable, while the software also indicates an insemination window allowing for accurate timing of AI, something that was previously missing. The Brownlee’s feel the health package is a valuable tool to ensure all cows are in good health, meaning a more proactive approach can be made in treating cows early. As James states: “The earlier a health issue can be identified, the more likely the treatment will work.” He also finds it great to see how well the cow is responding to treatment by monitoring her hourly eating and rumination patterns.

James and Cecil have been regularly scanning cows for several years, but they have been using the PregCheck service through the milk recording to test cows 70 days post AI to pick up any lost pregnancies, while also checking some cows at drying off to identify possible culls. They have successfully identified several cows that had lost pregnancies around 6-9 weeks and were able to either rebreed or cull them, saving them from carrying over empty cows. James describes Precheck as ‘a very useful tool,’ which he has incorporated into his regular milk recording. He also says: “As it’s non-invasive, there is no risk to heavily pregnant cows, while it also saves valuable time. All things considered, it’s another great tool to have at our disposal,” James states.

All in all, the combination of these two fertility tools have changed the way the Brownlee’s manage cow fertility for the better, while simultaneously reducing the calving interval for qualifying lactations by 13 days in the last year. They can now manage cow fertility and health accurately on an individual cow basis, while reducing the time spent on these important tasks. James concludes by saying, ’PregCheck and SenseHub are a winning combination that all farms should be using.’

James and Cecil Brownlee
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