Using Active Tag during calving

Learn how to set up and use Active Tag during calving in seasonal and block calving dairy systems

Moon Greathead avatar
Written by Moon Greathead
Updated over a week ago

Calving is a difficult time for cow and farmer. Understanding how Active Tag works around calving time and how to set it up, will allow you to get the most out of your solution.

Calving events

Newly calved cows display similar characteristics to health events, such as lying more, feeding less and fewer hours ruminating. The system also calculates over several hours to distinguish a health event from the cow's normal behaviour. For these reasons, Active Tag has lower sensitivity very close to, or just after calving.

A good example of this is milk fever. Milk fever can progress from sub-clinical to clinical very quickly and typically occurs during calving or immediately after. Therefore, Active Tag has lower sensitivity for this particular disease. Due to Active Tag's lower sensitivity around calving as described above, it is recommended that usual on-farm practices continue: the checking of springer and newly calved cows and mineral and additive supplementation.

Minimise group movements during calving

Active Tag accounts for cow behaviour during group movements to improve accuracy for heat and health events. However, when a cow moves to a new group, it may undergo natural abnormal behaviour as it settles into the new group hierarchy. Consequently, Active Tag has intentional reduced sensitivity just after a group movement to reduce the number of false positive alerts.

The first 14 days post calving is typically the highest risk period of potential issues for the cow, particularly metabolic and cervical disorders. In this period it is advised to minimise group movements and/or the recording of those in Datamars Livestock. If, for example, you are running a colostrum group, it is recommended not to notify Datamars Livestock of this group change due to the short term length of stay in this group. Cows should be moved directly into a milking group straight after calving (even if they are physically in a colostrum group post-calving).

Calving dates should be recorded as soon as possible after calving as these affect the performance of the system. This can be done in a third-party herd management system that is integrated with Datamars Livestock software, or in Datamars Livestock itself.

What should I do?

There are a few things to note and that you can do to set up your system for optimal performance:

  • Springers and new calvers should continue to be checked and monitored as part of normal on-farm practices. Rapidly progressing calving diseases require vigilant checking. Active Tag is a tool to aid, and not replace, on-farm practices.

  • Record calving dates as soon as possible, either in Datamars Livestock or 3rd party herd management system that is integrated with Datamars Livestock.

  • Move cows straight into a milking group after a calving date has been recorded.

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Having trouble?

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