Friesland, the Netherlands
Every weekday morning, farm manager Daniel Metzlar is in the Bles Dairies barn by 6am. By 7.30am, relaxed and knowing that the farm’s 200 cows are well and things are running efficiently, he’s sitting down to breakfast with his wife Ellen and two children, Jurre (11) and Femke (8).
Quality time with his family in the morning is key for Daniel, who has been working at Bles Dairies in Broek, Friesland since 2018 with Ellen. That was the year that the farm also employed the expertise of Ida, the intelligent dairy assistant. We first featured Daniel in 2018 after he had started using Ida, and we chatted to him again about his success with his intelligent dairy assistant.
Friesland, the Netherlands
Improvement in heat detection from 2020 to 2021
Increase in insemination rate from 2020 to 2021
Increase in pregnancy rate between 2020 and 2021
This dairy assistant monitors cows 24/7 and tracks their behaviour through a neck sensor that uses artificial intelligence. Ida then sends easy-to-understand insights to farmers via an app, giving them crucial information and allowing them to intervene when necessary. Ida tracks six cow behaviours – rumination, eating, standing, lying, walking and being idle. This technology also integrates farm management systems as well as milking equipment, sorting gates, weather and feed software.
Unlike other systems, Ida asks farmers for feedback about its alerts and then it learns from farmers’ responses. Farmers can also “Ask Ida” a question, and Ida will post a response based on the farmer’s data.Ida then becomes smarter, more personalised and more effective for each customer's herd and operations.
An extra set of eyes
“Thanks to Ida, I work smarter and the farm runs more efficiently,” says Daniel. “I find myself in the barn less, as Ida is the one who is constantly monitoring the cows. Each morning, I check insights and find out what’s happened overnight and can take action before I’ve even seen the cows. With an extra set of eyes, I’ve been able to focus on other areas of the business and spend time with my family.”
Improved heat detection and breeding
For Bles Dairies, it was important to adopt a leading cow monitor that would not only boost productivity, but also improve the wellbeing, health and fertility of cows.
Ida achieves this by accurately detecting when a cow is on heat, resulting in more accurately timed inseminations, and therefore increased pregnancies. “We don’t have to spend lots of time trying to guess or detect if a cow is on heat, and Ida removes a lot of our stress,” says Daniel. They’re happy with the results. From 2020 to 2021, Bles Dairies saw a 2% improvement in heat detection, a 10% increase in the insemination rate, and a 6% increase in the pregnancy rate.
Ida can detect health issues earlier than a farmer might, because it’s constantly monitoring the herd.Ida can tell when a cow isn’t feeling great from between 24 - 48 hours before most humans can. She sees subtle behavior changes that can indicate mastitis, metritis, ketosis or other illnesses.
“You can identify anyhealth problems quickly with Ida. If a cow is sick, her behaviour changes, which Ida can detect. These insights let me act quickly – separating the cow from the herd and treating her before she gets very sick. We are using less antibiotics because we’re able to treat cows early.
Ida is a self-learning technology, based on the sensor and farm data. By using artificial intelligence and feedback from the dairy farmer, the system constantly learns, and with time, gives even better cow insights. Farmer feedback also helps with this. “On the app, I can give answers to Ida’s questions, allowing her to understand the cows better and better and become more accurate,” says Daniel.
“I am enthusiastic about Ida and would recommend her to other farmers,” says Daniel.