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8 Jun 2020 - Birmingham, The United Kingdom

VikingGenetics to market health, oestrus and calving alert system

VikingGenetics UK has announced it is marketing the revolutionary cow monitoring system, smaXtec, in the UK. The system is unique in the marketplace in measuring the three parameters – activity, temperature and rumen pH.

The fact that these measurements are taken from within the cow gives smaXtec an accuracy and functionality which are not matched by any other monitoring system.

The system is said to fit perfectly within the VikingGenetics business which has a long history of improving animal health, fertility and welfare. 

Through the measurements it takes, smaXtec is able to piece together a highly accurate picture of oestrus activity as well as infectious, metabolic and digestive health. A further feature which farmers using the system value highly is its accurate prediction of calving.

How it works

The system works through the use of an orally administered bolus which remains inside the cow throughout her life. Here, it obtains a more accurate measure of core temperature than any externally applied device.

Existing users of the system report that core temperature readings alert them to health problems up to four days earlier than through normal observation. Increases in temperature may be due to infectious disease such as mastitis or metritis, which are more likely to be cured quickly and without the use of antibiotics if intervention is early.

Conversely, a drop in temperature could signify a metabolic disorder such as ketosis, or be a sign that calving will take place within 15 to 30 hours. This warning is being used by farmers as a reliable prompt to move cows to calving pens and watch them more closely.

Other issues picked up by the bolus include heat stress and changes in cycles of drinking, potentially indicating a problem such as lameness.

Oestrus is also predicted with a high degree of accuracy through a combination of measurements including activity, which is picked up by the accelerometer within the bolus.

The pH measurements from the cow’s rumen provide further valuable information relating to digestive health. This could indicate ruminal acidosis in an individual cow or a herd-level issue relating to diet.

The interface with the farmer has been designed for ease of use and easy integration with other on-farm software. The cloud-based system will even operate, if required, exclusively through mobile devices and without an on-farm computer.  

Proven experience 

Chris Howarth, smaXtec global sales director, says: “smaXtec is now in use across 25 countries around the world where it is transforming health and reproductive performance, improving calving outcomes and widely cutting antibiotic use. Because temperature is monitored from within the cow, the system is particularly advanced in terms of early detection of disease and irregularities and is vital in detecting fertility issues.

“We are delighted to have entered into this collaboration with VikingGenetics with whom we see many synergies. Like VikingGenetics, smaXtec aims to bring added value to customers using the very best technologies and best-in-class customer service. Our team across the UK are very much looking forward to this exciting opportunity, working alongside VikingGenetics and supporting our UK farmers.”

Matt Stott, UK & Ireland country manager for VikingGenetics says: “We are delighted to bring such an innovative product to our UK customers through this collaboration. Our link with smaXtec is a perfect complement to our breeding and genetics business, enabling us to offer added value while focussing on the priorities of health, welfare and sustainability which have always motivated and driven VikingGenetics.”   

The smaXtec system can be purchased on a ‘try before you buy’ basis, with payment terms designed to be cashflow friendly. Packages are tailored to suit all types of farming system and can cover dairy, suckler cow and beef herds. Each bolus is guaranteed for the lifetime of the animal, and the system can be upscaled with additional boluses at any point.