It has been shown that when a large number of calvings are monitored by a small number of employees, as well as when there is a shift change during calving, the rate of difficult calvings increases. To address these issues, an app was developed at Ohio State University to provide seamless and easy information transfer.
The app was available on a handheld tablet with a rugged protective case. It was easy to use and there was a list to work through for all sections. Before the first use of the app, there was a workshop on the app and calving management best practices (1 hr presentation, 2 hr hands-on). Then all people should be able to use the app. In the hands-on trial, calving staff walked through the prepartum pens every 1 h looking for heifers and cows with impending birth signs such as appearance of an amniotic sac (AS) or calf feet outside the vulva (FOV). Once staff identified a cow with AS or FOV, the cow identification number was recorded as "newly calving" and added to the list of active cows. The app recognizes this entry as "time 0" of phase II of labor; therefore, After calving was completed, information on calving difficulty was recorded using a 5-point scale and the newborn calf. Newborn calves were automatically transferred to a list of active calves, and information for each calf (eg, calf ID, sex, and colostrum (quality, quantity; time)) was recorded. At the end of each work shift, the information recorded by the app was sent to the cloud for data storage.
Occurrence of amniotic sac (AS) feet of calf outside the vulva (FOV).
. https://www.ubrocare.de/ ... https://kuhlemilch.de
A big advantage of communicating via app is that everyone gets all the information about all the cows when they download the data. However, the system does not work if no one enters data. Communication by app can be a solution if you like to deal with modern technology. Nevertheless, this system has been developed for large farms. In a modified form, the system can also be used on a smaller scale. A bulletin board for notes near the calving pen or a short message group can also be used to note and share information around calving. A collaboratively discussed routine should be established to achieve consistent management of births (start of labor, colostrum administration, etc.). This can also be recorded in writing (or pictures) for safety.
Information on the normal birth process (e.g. timing of each stage) and management of cow and calf during this stage can be found here:
- https://www.vetmedica.de/geburtshilfebroschuere-561.pdfx?forced=true (deutsch)
- https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/calving-time-management-for-beef-cows-and-heifers.html (Englisch)
- Barragan, AA et al. (2016): Assessment of an application for touchscreen devices to record calving-related events in dairy herds and monitor personnel performance. Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 2, No. 99 (7) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030216302600?via%3Dihub
This Innovation has an impact on:
- Socioeconomic resilience: the innovation will increase equipment costs, which may be offset by fewer stillbirths/better care for cows in calving.
- Animal health and welfare: the app can help reduce veterinary costs and lead to fewer stillbirths, early detection of calf-related problems, and timely colostrum for all calves.
- Production efficiency and meat quality: Labor time per animal can decrease with this communication and organization aid