The first four months of life in cattle has a big impact on the animal’s lifetime health and performance. With early life issues impacting the animal growth and productivity, farmers have recognised the importance of improved disease detection and early treatment in young stock.
The prevalence of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) or calf pneumonia during the rearing period is often underestimated since visual signs are difficult to pick up. It is the most common reason for death and poor performance in calves and young, growing cattle. Additionally, scours, a clinical sign associated with several diseases, resulting in diarrhoea, causes more financial losses to calf producers than any other health problem in their herds.
Detecting calf disease in busy modern dairy farms is recognised as being an area where there is massive room for improvement. Calves are often now kept in batches of up to 30 calfs on automatic feeders. Stock men, even good ones, can easily miss a calf showing early signs of disease and we know for a successful outcome we need early detection. Well-calf monitors calves 24 hrs a day, therefore helping the stockman pinpoint disease early.
WellCalf is a cutting-edge precision technology solution that helps the industry tackle pneumonia and scours in the dairy-beef sector through early disease detection, improvements in health and management in the rearing phase. The InnovateUK funded project partners are Smartbell, SRUC, Parkland Vet Group and Agri-EPI. The product has been trialled on several farms across the UK.