Farmer/owner: Steven, Claire, Elizabeth and Robert Bland
Farm location: Clifton, near Penrith, Cumbria
Farm name: Abbott Lodge
Herd: 270 jerseys
Milking system: Fullwood 22:22 herringbone
Date of installation: June 2007
The Bland family have received some great news recently having used Fullwood’s Vitality system for the first time.
They are the tenant farmers at Abbott Lodge milking 270 jersey cows with a second hand Fullwood herringbone parlour they installed in 2000 and have since upgraded and extended to 22:22.
The family have developed their own range of ice-cream from their jersey herd’s milk, which is sold in their shop and café on the farm.
In December 2016, the family made the decision to change from conventional milking to installing three Fullwood M2erlin robots. These will be ready for milking in October this year after the herd have been brought in from grazing outside during the summer.
As part of their preparation for their robotic system, the Bland’s have been using Fullwood’s new Vitality pedometers on their 72 heifers housed inside a cubicle barn and have been very pleased with the results.
Robert told us “the pedometers all work fine and they are 100% accurate in picking up tags on Crystal (herd management software). We can see that the data matches the bulling activity. They are also really easy to attach to each cow.”
Steven has now confirmed the Fullwood Vitality system detected the heifer’s heats accurately and used this information to inseminate them at the most appropriate time. This has resulted in 70% conception to first service, using sexed semen, compared to their previous rate of only 45-60%.
The new Vitality system, which has been designed and developed by Fullwood’s in-house engineers and software technicians, offers two levels of animal observation and identification: the Vitality NOW system is a standalone activity monitoring and heat detection system, while the dual purpose Vitality PLUS system also enables electronic identification of individual cows for milking or out-of-parlour feeding purposes.
Both versions of the new Vitality system link to Fullwood’s Crystal herd management software and use a 3D accelerometer housed within a robust, sealed-for-life ‘tag’. Each tag has up to 400-metre line-of-sight wireless range which enables activity data to be remotely captured from any in-range animal.