How was the introduction of the robots and the UNIFORM-Agri software?
Paco: We are all in an adaptation phase. We put the first Lely robot in place 8 months ago and we started one month later working with the UNIFORM herd management software, already integrated with the T4C software of the robot. For us the whole digital issue was new and we are still learning, but today, if we were to have all the information we have in the software taken away and we had to go back to the previous situation, it would be a problem.
Many times we talk about the milking in the robot, which is important and it does it well, but what we noticed most on the farm was the data we have now because we were not into that.
José: We did everything by eye, and it was not the same. We have a very open barn, where you can see the animals well, but there are many hours a day when you are not here, and it is impossible for you to notice everything. We were also using more synchronizing protocols, which was an important expense, and today it is not necessary. The advantages of managing the farm with the program are amazing. It makes it much easier to detect heats and problems. At the end of the year, many cows perform better because we have improved the management thanks to the information received.
In which areas did the UNIFORM-Agri program help you to improve your herd management?
Paco: The main things we look at in the program are integrated data from the robots, such as activity, for heat detection, and rumination. Also, the temperature of the milk because it allows you to detect when a cow is going to have a problem. The reports provided by the program make the handling of the animals much easier. For example, if you go to the health attentions list and you see that a cow has decreased her rumination activity, you know that there is a problem with that animal, probably that she is lame.
José: I compare the program with the prevention we have in the barn in terms of cow comfort and cattle handling: having the cows well handled, with good beds, hygiene in barn, good access to food and water, etc. The program is another part that can help a lot in improving the management of the animals.
How do you organize your work with the program now?
Paco: Early in the morning, when I arrive at the farm I can see in the program’s dashboard the coming calvings, dry offs and heats that were during the night. These are the things we use the most in the day-to-day and then, when we have time, we analyze data and information. We can easily spend a couple of hours looking at data and not even realize it. The program also has a task list feature, which is useful, for example, when you have to apply treatments because it pops up an alert of that task, but since we are not treating hardly anything, it is something we do not use.
Jose: If anyone told me years ago that we were going to be milking 190 cows and not throwing away a liter of milk, I would say it was impossible. To achieve that you must be aware of many things, have good maintenance of all facilities and the cows’ beds full of sand. It is more a matter of prevention than work because, to tell the truth, I walk about 15 kilometers a day, but I don’t do any physical work, I don’t lift weight. I do everything with machinery and the program is another element that helps me to control the farm better. I come in and check up on everything. A dairy farm moves a lot of volumes, but the small details are where you will notice the difference. Taking care of things is the basis of everything.
What do you use more, UNIFORM on the PC or the UNIFORM App?
Paco: Almost everything on the phone because it’s very comfortable. If I’m in the backyard, I can enter the data directly with the app, as I do all the daily work, such as drying off cows, inseminations, etc. The only thing I do on the computer are things related with the Vet Check List and cullings, because in these situations I usually need to enter more data. I have been more in charge of the program and I currently use it more, but Jose is also being trained with it.
José: I am starting to use UNIFORM more. Older people like me find it more difficult to use computers, but this is the future, there is no turning back. Whoever wants to continue in the dairy sector, from a herd of 30 cows on, should be digitalized.