smaXtec Technology Helps Monitor the Health of Your Herd
Published on Fri, 09/09/2022 - 9:54am
smaXtec Technology Helps Monitor the Health of Your Herd.
By Maura Keller.
For Jason Kline, a dairy farmer who operates Klinedell Farms in Myerstown, PA, monitoring the health and well-being of each animal within his herd of 190 dairy cows is paramount to the success of his operation, as well as the health and safety of the entire herd.
“I had been looking at various activity monitors to help us in monitoring our herd, and smaXtec stood out. I really like the fact that it’s placed inside the cow. The heat detection component is so helpful, as are the calving alerts and rumination monitoring. It’s like having eyes on each of your cows on a full-time basis.” Kline says.
“The inner body temperature monitoring is used as an excellent heat detection tool. It also alerts you when a cow is showing a drop in temperature and rumination like what commonly happens in a case of milk fever. This is often followed by decreased activity, but with our system you’re alerted much earlier,” says Joseph Gilbert, territory manager at smaXtec. “The technology monitors cows as individuals and looks at herd and group information. It is capable in accurately monitoring a cow’s health on any dairy regardless of size and has some custom adjustments available to meet the needs of various management styles.”
“The smaXtec technology sends notifications to myself and my employees’ phones to provide alerts so we know what is going on with each animal – whether they are in heat, calving or have other health-related concerns. It allows us to be informed of the status of each animal,” Kline says.
The Primary Function
The temperature monitoring is the heart of the health monitoring that smaXtec offers. With 24/7 temperature monitoring of individual cows, smaXtec watches an individual cow’s average temperature. When her temperature deviates from normal, the producer (or their employee) will get a temperature alert when her temperature went up or down significantly.
According to Gilbert, temperature is the first indicator of an infection. Temperature alerts are often sent 3-4 days before any clinical signs are present. Early detection of mastitis, metritis, and pneumonia are just a few of the common infections detected early in cows with the smaXtec system.
“Early detection allows for reduced antibiotics, less production loss and quicker recovery,” Gilbert says. “One cool feature we get from monitoring the temperature in the reticulum is a drinking indicator. The system will alert you when an individual cow has decreased drinking cycles. It will also give you one group alert if there is an issue in an entire group.” The other big indicator the smaXtec technology can provide, since it monitors temperature so accurately, is to give dairies an accurate calving alert. On average alerts are sent about 15 to 20 hours before the cow gives birth.
“The sooner you catch any problem, the better chances you have of curing the issue,” Kline says. “It really streamlines the entire process and helps us be aware of any problems with our herd.”
At its core, the smaXtec technology allows farmers to be more efficient finding sick cows early. This allows them to address the issues earlier with less production loss, less expensive treatments and quicker recovery. This also allows the cows to remain productive, healthier and stay on the farm longer which means the cows are happier and the farm is more profitable.
“Every farm seems to have their favorite feature or functions. Some of the most popular favorites are early detection of mastitis, the accuracy of the calving alert, how significantly they reduced vet bills and ovulation sync shots, and improved pregnancy rates,” Gilbert says. “We have seen reduced SCCs, reduced calf mortality, reduced vet and hormone costs, and keeping cows in the herd longer – all of which have a big impact on the farm’s bottom line.”
To learn more about smaXtec, visit www.smaXtec.com or call +1 (608) 405-1548
Joseph Gilbert, Territory Manager at smaXtec
smaXtec started out as a research project about 15 years ago. As Joseph Gilbert, territory manager at smaXtec explains, the original idea was to be able to conveniently monitor the pH of a cow’s rumen during nutrition research without having to take samples from fistulated cows. smaXtec decided to enter the U.S. market with direct sales in 2021 and an office was established in Madison, Wisconsin in September 2021.
“smaXtec went to market commercially about 10 years ago with two different boluses,” Gilbert says. “Our latest generation of products is called SX.2 with the smaXtec Classic Bolus that’s monitoring inner body temperature, drinking behavior, rumination and activity. The unique rumination feature was added in 2020 and is based on the detection of rumen contractions, allowing to identify rumination issues in individual cows and on a group level. From the precise health monitoring to reliable heat and calving detection, every aspect of our system is designed to let dairy producers know what’s going on in the herd before there are major economic losses and more workload” Gilbert explains. “In addition to the other parameters, our pH Bolus is able to monitor pH values, which is ideal when you’re trying to improve your herd’s feeding efficiency.”
“One of the latest alerts added is what is called an abortion alert that alerts you when a confirmed pregnant cow has suspicious activity that could indicate she is no longer pregnant,” Gilbert says. “smaXtec strives to add new functions and to further improve the system with. Lots of exciting new features in the future.”