An innovative new dairy herd management tool has been installed by a Fermanagh farmer, the first of its kind in Ireland
Herd Navigator™ is considered the tool of the future for farmers and complements the DeLaval robotic milking system which has greatly reduced the time it takes to milk a dairy herd.
Now this new concept can store all the valuable data needed about each individual cow. This brings control and management of stock to a new level.
It has been installed at Marcus Grey’s farm at Oghill, Killadeas, by DeLaval, where he uses their robotic milkers on his Jersey herd.
The aim of Herd Navigator is to improve monitoring and intervention that results in improvements in the areas of reproduction, udder health, feeding and feeding-related conditions. 
Herd Navigator™ is designed to provide producers with an enhanced overview of their entire herd whilst offering specific valuable information on individual cows. It will allow Irish milk producers to identify significantly more cows in heat than can be seen with current heat detection aids - such as activity meters - or visual checks to spot mastitis before it affects the milk. Milk producers will also be made aware of cows affected by different metabolic disorders before actual symptoms are visible to the naked eye.
“Herd Navigator™ is a significant innovation in herd management as the system automatically measures different components in the milk while the cow is being milked. This is undoubtedly the management tool of the future, it takes so much pressure off the farmer and delivers accurate results which will increase the financial yield from each cow by around €267 per cow per year,” said Kieran FitzGerald, VMS Solutions Manager, GB and Ireland.
Early warnings alert the milk producer to the appropriate quick action needed for individual cows, for reproduction, udder health and nutrition. Proactive action will also improve animal welfare and food safety.
Herd Navigator™ focus areas include reproduction, udder health and feeding. Using sophisticated bio-modelling, analytical results are presented on the farmer’s computer in a clear form that makes it easy to spot animals which need special attention including:
- Cows in heat, pregnant cows and cows with reproduction disorders or abortions.
- Cows that are developing mastitis, days before clinical signs can be seen.
- Early detection of ketosis cases or imbalance in feed ration.
The new system will give the milk producer a better overview of the whole herd while providing valuable information on individual cows. Herd Navigator™ is a multi-award winner.In July 2015, DeLaval was awarded the RABDF Prince Philip Award for research and development in the field of dairy farming and the most practical, relevant and best technical exhibit at the Livestock Event 2015 for the ‘Herd Navigator™’.
DeLaval robotic milking systems are now responsible for delivering 38% of Ireland’s milk pool each year. That’s more than 380,000 cows on almost 6,500 farms on the island being milked by DeLaval technology with the company having very ambitious plans for growth in the pipeline at an exciting time for dairying in Ireland.