Thursday, 23 July 2020 10:28

Look after your calves, look after your community

Written by  Staff Reporters
‘Look after your calves, look after your community’ aims to keep both livestock and rural communities strong and healthy. ‘Look after your calves, look after your community’ aims to keep both livestock and rural communities strong and healthy.

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is partnering with animal health company Virbac New Zealand during the calf rearing season.

The ‘Look after your calves, look after your community’ is a joint initiative targeted at keeping both livestock and rural communities strong and healthy.

RWNZ and Virbac New Zealand say they both recognise the importance of this and that is why they have worked together on this initiative.

So, this season, Virbac will be donating $1 from every box of calf oral electrolyte products Revive and Diarrest sold to RWNZ. This donation will be used to fund RWNZ’s newly established Animal Health Study Grant. 

This grant will be available to any person studying in the veterinary and vet nursing field. Special consideration will be given to those choosing to live and work in small or rural communities.   

RWNZ says attracting professionals to live and work within rural and smaller communities in New Zealand has always been a challenge. 

“Encouraging and supporting students into a rural profession provides an opportunity to give a taste of rural life to a graduate that may never have considered living rurally before.”   

RWNZ says it provides a respected and credible voice to decision-makers on the challenges facing rural New Zealand. 

The organisation has been empowering rural women, their families, businesses and communities for close to 100 years. In times of need, they provide support to those that need it, and offer a vibrant social support network to help rural communities to remain strong and resilient.

RWNZ says it recognises that women have an integral role to play in rural businesses and communities as decision makers and influencers. Often on the front line and commonly tasked with the role of calf rearer, this time of the year requires relentless hard-work, care and nurture from rural women throughout the country. 

The organisation believes in supporting women by providing opportunities for development within the organisation and through educational grants and bursaries, however they are not just for farming women.

“RWNZ focuses on supporting and empowering all rural women, their families and communities through their nationwide membership which embraces the diversity of those living rurally as well as those interested in rural life,” it says.

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

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