The ability to share data across the entire chain is changing the way farmers are feeding their herds and improving cow performance, minimising waste and reducing carbon footprints.
Feedlync by CowConnect is a cloud-based, digital feed management system enabling operators to keep accurate data and make instant adjustments to the feed composition.
In conjunction with a weighing system, Feedlync ensures that feed is mixed precisely to provide the correct ration every time. The hardware package consists of an external weighing system and a gateway unit that can be fitted to any mixer wagon and diet feeders.
“The system is intuitive to operate, and as well as saving you time can offer a return on investment within an average of just 94 days. This is because on average it can increase feed accuracy by 4%, helping you to use less feed to produce a pint of milk,” explained Mollie Cresswell, communications manager at AB Agri.
Dairy farmer Colin Murdoch has enjoyed gains since introducing the Feedlync feeding system, saying: “We’ve improved feed efficiency and accuracy of loading. Without changing anything else we’ve added on 1.4 litres a cow per day, so the system is more than paying for itself.”
It comes as a standard subscription package, suitable for any herd size or management preference and provides data on consumption, components of the ration and the ability to monitor feed costs.
It’s operated through a smartphone app (iOS or Android) and an online portal, with no need to sync or stop to update the system. This also ensures that nutritionists can monitor diets even when not on the farm.
“Because it is cloud-based, anyone can look at it, from wherever in the world,” said John Allwood of Huntingdon Hall Farm in Cheshire. “It’s all live, you can see what’s going on and the efficiencies that are coming through. If there are mistakes, you can track it instantaneously.”
The farmer has the full costings of feed and the system also links to the milk tanker collection, with herd management monitoring cow numbers going in.
“The farmer can therefore calculate how much it costs to produce a litre of milk every day. From a nutrition perspective, if there is a change in the diet, the user can see what effect that has on the costs,” said Ms Cresswell.
It also links to external systems and has an automatic import of milk yield and cow numbers. It can even make adjustments to the dry matter ratio so that weather does not impact profits.
“We can link Feedlync to our software management system for our cow numbers to be altered, and the milk qualities to come through,” said Thomas Edwards of Severndale Farm in Chepstow.
“Our feed consultants can also connect to see what is going on with the cows and what they are eating. We can then transfer everything over and get a budget of what we are actually feeding these cows, and how much it is costing us to get our milk,” he added.
Ms Cresswell said: “The dashboard helps you to see and understand the collected data and costs, allowing you to take control and make informed decisions.
“Bringing this data live, makes the farm operation proactive, empowering the farmer in how they manage rations and how to implement changes. The system makes it easy to understand the processes and the effects on productivity and profitability, all from your phone!”