Moelogan Fawr Project Introduction

Site: Moelogan Mawr, Carmel, Llanrwst

Technical Officer: Gwion Parry

Project Title: Trialling new heat/calving and general health detector technology and calculating the return on investment (ROI) and any saving/increase in profit generated from their use.


Introduction to project: 
Improving suckler herd fertility and tightening the calving pattern has a major effect on efficiency and are key drivers of a profitable herd. Having a calving index of 365 days and a tight calving pattern will lead to easier management from winter ration and cow management, to calving and calf management from then on. Ensuring that every cow is performing to her optimum capacity is vital in order to maintain business sustainability.

The main aim of the project at Moelogan Mawr is to tighten the calving pattern, whilst increasing data collection and making the best use of ground-breaking new technology. Improved data collection will allow the host farmer to minimise costs relating to heat detection and cow fertility treatments. It will also allow for resource efficiency improvements, including labour and AI. Adjusting management practices as a result of data collection will ultimately lead to reducing costs of production, as well as producing higher outputs.

Project Objectives:

The key objective of the project is to harness the use of new heat detection technology to tighten the calving pattern. 

The project will capture the benefits of using Smaxtec boluses in terms of herd health and fertility. A bolus will be administered to each cow and will provide a constant live feed of body temperature. This data offers advantages with disease treatment, as we will be able to spot any unnatural temperature indicating early signs of disease or other health issues. The bolus is able to help detect disease up to 4 days before clinical symptoms are visible, potentially resulting in reduced antibiotic usage.  

As the bolus is present in the animal permanently, it will be able to detect cycling prior and post the bulling period. This allows for improved management decisions, e.g. culling barrens or veterinary intervention to ensure animals are cycling as they should prior to the bulling period. 

The Smaxtec bolus will also be able to identify exactly when the animal started cycling which is crucial in order to predict the correct time for insemination. With traditional methods, such as tail-paint, this is currently not possible. Gaining this knowledge will reduce the amount of straws used, as well as labour requirements.  

Collectively, making justified management decisions based on the data provided by this technology will ensure that a productive and efficient herd is maintained.  


Key Performance Indicators Set:

  1. Increase the percentage of heifers which stand in the first cycle from 57% to >65%.
  2. Reduce the daily observation labour of the heifers from 5 hours to 1 hours. 
  3. Reduce the cost of veterinary fertility and health treatments. Currently flushing, PD’ing and using CIDRs (Controlled internal drug release); the bolus will reduce these costs drastically, potentially eliminating the PD’ing and flushing costs.  


Timeline and Milestones: 

8 April 2020 - Bolus activation and administration, data recording to begin 
April - June 2020 – Identify heifers which aren’t cycling for veterinary inspection and treatment
1 July 2020 – Start inseminating 
July 2020 – April 2021 – Identify any heifers which are cycling which would suggest they aren’t in calf, and continue to monitor health
April – May 2020 – Start calving