Benefits in a nutshell
Identify clinical and sub-clinical mastitis: SomaDetect allows you to see trends, not data points at one moment in time. This means that farmers can watch the immune response to infection, and make a clear decision about whether or not intervention is required.
Optimize feed and see immediate response to changes in food rations: Testing out new feed? Watch the effect on butterfat, and make a clear decision about whether it helps or it hurts.
More information for more effective use of the herd veterinarian: Sharing your data and analytics with a vet means that they always know how things are going, and how they can most help.
Use the right antibiotic at the right time - and reduce unnecessary usage: Overtime, SomaDetect will build its predictive analytics capabilities. This means that it will be able to make recommendations about when to treat, and what type of infection might be present.
Lower cull rate: Reduce serious disease, and help cows live longer, healthier lives.
Higher production per cow: Maximize the health of the herd for higher production from each animal.
Better bulk tank fat & SCC: Know when problems arise, and react in the earliest possible stages. Stop low-fat, high-SCC milk from ever making it into the bulk tank.
Impress the processor and the bookkeeper: Get the components bonus at every milking. Lead the pack for herd health and milk quality in your community.
Optimised & Informed Dairy Production
SomaDetect provides somatic cell counts and fat content measurements to dairy farmers from every cow at every milking. These two variables are the most critical for managing herd health and farm operations.
To understand the benefits of SomaDetect, it is critical to understand how farmers are paid. The milk check is calculated based on three key factors:
- Milk volume (as in, number of pounds of milk)
- Components present in their milk (as in, the concentration of fat, protein, and milk solids)
- Milk quality (as in, the number of somatic cells present in the milk)
SomaDetect makes a difference to both the components present, and milk quality. The return on investment for this technology is 2.5 years on average, and fat less for farms with more than 5000 cows.
Catch clinical and sub-clinical mastitis
Mastitis is a disease of the udder. It is the most common disease amongst dairy cows and primary cause of early death. Identifying sub-clinical and clinical mastitis represent major challenges in the dairy industry. Mastitis costs the dairy industry $2 B each year, largely due to poor identification of the early stages of this disease; almost 50% of the dairy cows that have mastitis are sent for slaughter.
With SomaDetect, the average US dairy farm (~220 cows) can see a return on investment after 2.46 years, and will save an average of $16,000 per year based solely on benefits due to rapid identification and treatment of mastitis.
This is due to several factors:
Reduced down-time due to early detection and treatment of sub-clinical mastitis
Early detection provides the farmer to remove the cow from production early and reduce high SCC milk from impacting the bulk tank and provide early treatment (extra milking, antibiotic, etc.).
Catching disease early (subclinical mastitis) has demonstrated that 24% of infected cows can have a faster recovery effectively reducing down time by an average of 4.6 days. This can yield recuperation of production of the affected cow during the 305-day lactation period by 2681 lbs (compared to untreated cow).
Cows that have serious cases of mastitis will have life-long negative consequences, including higher SCC from the previously-infected udder, and lowered milk production. This is due to damage and scarring of the udder. With early detection and treatment, SomaDetect will greatly reduce these long-term impacts.
Reduction of culling rates
Early treatment can reduce reoccurring infections and therefore reduce cull rates. The direct cost of culling is 2,000$ per cow. The cost of replacing an average cow is ~$3000, though some are worth much more. For example, there are specialty farms that exist where the breed of the cow and genetic traits mean that individual animals are worth between $100,000 and $200,000 USD.
By managing the SCC of cows and monitoring herd health, farmers can vary management practices to maintain low SCC in the full herd. This has direct impacts on the profitability of the farm. The table below describes the potential additional revenue for a farm in Wisconsin with 134 cows. A decrease in average SCC from 400 to 100 cells results in a production and associated revenue increase of almost $30,000.
Farmers who present an average SCC of 200,000 cells per millilitre can receive a quality bonus from the producer. This bonus varies from $0.10 /cwt to $0.60/cwt, representing an average revenue increase of 2%. For many US farms, profitability can depend on receiving the quality bonus or not.
Improve farm profitability
For component pricing, farmers are paid directly based on average fat content. If a dairy farmer is able to manage the fat content that goes into this bulk tank, and respond to changes in fat in cows, the farmer can increase the value of their milk cheque. For a farm with 100 cows, they receive an additional $14,500 annually for every 0.5% fat increase (on average).
Larger farms (> 5000 cows) often have multiple bulk tanks, and can batch their milk based on factors such as fat content. This helps them to sell a premium high-fat milk for which they receive higher revenues. The ability to identify the cows that produce the highest-fat milk and manage the milk through batching becomes even more interesting for a large farming operation. For a farm with 5,000 cows, a 0.5% increase in fat yields an additional $725,000 per year.