Development of an application for touch-screen devises to capture defined calving-related events in dairy herds
Calving-related losses (survival, health, and productivity) and welfare practices have become known challenges for the dairy industry worldwide. Furthermore, management practices have been associated with this problem. It is common to observe large within- and between-herd variation in recording calving-related events and personnel performance (PP) over time. Successful identification of factors affecting stillbirth and personnel performance at the herd level can be challenging due to their multi-factorial nature. The objective was to assess a user-friendly mobile application (APP) for touch screen devises to aid in decision making about calving-related events in dairy herds. The APP was developed to capture, identify, and rank risk factors (e.g., dystocia, PP, work shift transition, BCS, colostrum management) affecting stillbirth according to their contribution weights. Novel components of the APP included: 1) Login screen for individual herds, 2) Capture of selected calving-related events for both dam and calf (e.g., parity, breed, BCS, hygiene of perineum, calving ease, sex of calf, presentation, personnel), 3) Rolling list of active cows with an alarm to monitor calving progress and time in labor, 4) Rolling list of active calves (single or multiple) within 24 h after birth, 5) Colostrum management practices (quality, quantity, time of administration, calf vigor, birth weights, and personnel), and 6) Connectivity to dashboard to process data in real time. Using data from dairy herds, the APP accurately captured (100%) and integrated multiple calving-related events with PP (accounting for the effect of work shift transition), and ranked within-herd risk factors for stillbirth due to herd management. Dairymen, consultants, and veterinarians often trouble-shoot stillbirth within-herd; however, the lack of meaningful records using defined events makes it difficult to implement corrective practices. Comprehensive assessment of several events occurring in real time around-the-clock will likely reduce calving-related losses (stillbirth) while improving herd productivity and welfare.
Keywords: App, Calving Management, Dairy