Article Summary: Calving season is a critical time for Australian farmers, and effectively managing multiple mobs can make a significant difference. This article delves into mob management strategies and the benefits of running multiple mobs during calving, including better colostrum control and improved care for sick or late-calving cows. It explains the concept of Body Condition Score (BCS) and how it helps intelligently split the herd. It also discusses the innovative use of 'virtual fencing' technology is explored to optimise calving season. Additionally, the article highlights the role of pasture management apps in maximising the advantages of 'virtual fencing.'
Calving season is a crucial time on any dairy farming calendar. The calving patterns vary depending on the type of cattle and your preferred farming practices. According to Dairy Australia, Australian dairy farmers set a 61% and 94% target for the number of cows calved in the first 3 and 6 weeks of the calving season, respectively.
One strategy that can greatly contribute to a successful calving season is running multiple mobs. Managing multiple mobs successfully and efficiently can greatly impact your farm’s productivity.
This article highlights the benefits of this approach and how you can successfully implement it on your farm. Let’s dig deeper to explore some valuable insights.
Mob management and calving
Mob management is a holistic approach that involves organising your herd into smaller groups for more effective handling, monitoring, and care. During the calving season, it becomes crucial to implement mob management strategies to enhance the calving process's efficiency.
Popular mob management strategies include;
Separating sick, injured, and late calvers
Grouping by Body Condition Score
Pasture management apps
By keeping the calving mobs smaller and more manageable, you can closely monitor each cow's progress, assist with calving difficulties, and ensure that all newborn calves receive prompt attention. This approach minimises the risk of complications and helps calves get a healthy start in life.
The benefits of running multiple mobs
Running multiple mobs of cattle during calving season refers to dividing your herd into smaller mobs or groups. This division is based on specific criteria and facilitates efficient cattle management during the calving season. The following are other valuable benefits of running multiple mobs.
Less colostrum appears in vats
One of the primary benefits of running multiple mobs during calving season is better colostrum management. Colostrum is the first milk produced by the cow after calving. It is crucial for newborn calves as it provides essential nutrients and antibodies for a healthy start.
Running multiple mobs during calving season can significantly reduce the amount of colostrum appearing in vats.
When you have multiple smaller mobs, you can better control the colostrum intake of each group, ensuring that every calf receives the necessary nutrition.
Adequate colostrum intake reduces the risk of health issues among calves, boosting their immunity.
Better management of sick and injured cows
When you split your herd into multiple mobs, managing sick and injured cows becomes more manageable. You can identify and provide more personalised care and attention to sick and injured cows. This ensures that they receive appropriate medical treatment and supervision. This approach enhances the overall well-being of your herd and minimises the risk of disease spread.
Improved care for late calvers
Some cows calve late and have different nutritional requirements that need personalised care. Splitting them into their separate mob allows for better management and focused care. As a result, late calvers can also catch up on milk production and body condition, leading to improved overall productivity of the farm.
Should you split your herd into multiple mobs?
Yes, you should split your herd into multiple mobs for better management. One effective way to determine how to split your herd into multiple mobs is using the Body Condition Score (BCS) system.
What is the Body Condition Score (BCS)?
BCS is a widely accepted numerical rating system that assesses the body condition of individual cows. It is mainly used in dairy farming to determine the body condition of livestock. This method considers factors like fat cover and muscle development to determine a cow's health and nutritional status.
This method lets you categorise your cows based on their BCS and create mobs with similar nutritional needs and conditions.
For example, cows with a lower BCS may require additional feeding and care to improve their condition, while cows with a higher BCS may need a different feeding regimen. When you categorise cows with similar nutritional needs in a group, providing the specialised care they need becomes easier.
This tailored approach ensures that each mob receives the specific care it needs during calving season.
Understanding the concept of 'Virtual Fencing'
Innovations in farming technology have introduced the concept of 'virtual fencing.' Virtual fencing refers to controlling livestock grazing behaviours without physical fencing. It relies on wireless technology, GPS collars, and electronic ear tags or collars to create virtual boundaries for your cattle without physical fences. This system allows you to manage your cattle's movements and grazing patterns precisely.
How 'Virtual Fencing' benefits farmers…
Virtual fencing offers several advantages for farmers, especially when managing multiple mobs during calving season. Here are some of the ways you can leverage virtual fencing on your farm:
Mob segmentation: You can use virtual fencing to separate mobs and ensure they graze in designated areas. This prevents overcrowding and promotes more efficient pasture utilisation.
Custom grazing: With virtual fencing, you can control when and where your cattle graze. This is particularly beneficial for rotational grazing during calving season. You can direct mobs to areas with ample forage and optimal conditions for calving.
Reduced labour and fencing cost: Virtual fencing eliminates the need for physical fence maintenance and allows you to control cattle movements remotely. This reduces labour requirements, freeing up your time and resources for other essential tasks.
The role of pasture management apps
To maximise the benefits of virtual fencing, consider using pasture management apps that integrate with the technology. These apps provide real-time data on cattle locations, grazing patterns, and pasture conditions. By analysing this data, you can make informed decisions about mob management, grazing rotations, and resource allocation.
New to pasture.io? Discover the possibilities with our industry-first app, harnessing the power of AI, satellite, and regular flyovers to ensure real-time monitoring and data collection, enabling you to make quick decisions on managing your pastures wherever you are in the world!
Harnessing the power of agtech to get your calving season off without a hitch
Running multiple mobs during calving season offers several advantages, including better colostrum management and improved care for sick and late-calving cows. By using the Body Condition Score system, implementing mob management strategies, and embracing 'virtual fencing' technology, you can streamline your operations and enhance the success of your calving season.
Additionally, pasture management apps can be valuable tools for optimising your mob management practices and ensuring the well-being of your herd.
Talk to the Pasture.io team today to see how you can revolutionise and automate your most manual farming efforts with our simple yet exceptionally clever app!
Until we meet again, Happy Farming!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 2023-09-21