Friday, 28 June 2024 09:55

Walkover teat sprayer shows mastitis a clean pair of heels

Written by  Staff Reporters
A bird’s eye view of how GEA’s Walkover teat sprayer works. A bird’s eye view of how GEA’s Walkover teat sprayer works.

Milking technology specialists GEA, in partnership with agricultural AI start-up AgriAI, have announced the launch of their walkover teat sprayer, designed to reduce mastitis cases and labour requirements, while optimising animal welfare.

According to DairyNZ, mastitis in the New Zealand dairy industry, brings with it an average cost of $180 per cow, per year, meaning a typical herd of 300 mixed-age cows are likely to see an accumulative loss of $54,500/ annum. Teat spraying post- milking has been proven to reduce the incidence of new mastitis infections by 50%, but manual teat spraying requires additional labour, but if applied inadequately can lead to inconsistent results.

Back in 2022, GEA introduced the iSPRAY4 on-platform teat sprayer for rotaries, featuring four nozzles and utilising crossfire spray action to cover both the teat barrel and teat end. Recognising that 70% of cowsheds in New Zealand are a herringbone layout, GEA saw an opportunity to build on the success of the on-platform teat sprayer and develop an effective walkover teat sprayer suitable for both rotary and herringbone cowsheds.

Said to be a gamechanger for boosting udder health, the new walkover teat sprayer is equipped with advanced AI-driven camera technology that offers realtime udder tracking and timed sequential spraying, instead of the more typical break-beam sensors. This delivers a thorough coverage of the front and back of the teats as the cow walks over the unit, regardless of her speed or how close the following cow is. These features are said to set it apart from other products on the market, ensuring superior teat spray coverage as cows exit the cowshed.

The sprayer also includes sensor technology to detect when nozzles need cleaning and automatically sprays water to ensure they remain unobstructed. Built entirely of stainless steel for durability and strength, it also features four nozzles and a crossfire spray like the on-platform teat sprayer.

The product is collaborative effort of GEA’s New Zealand-based Product and Technology & Innovation Teams, and AgriAI, looking to address the challenge of maximising milk quality and yield without compromising animal welfare.

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