The Niaruo Farms, owned by Hayden and Alecia Lawrence, stands as a role model to the transformative power of technology in dairy farming. Operating a mixed herd of Holstein Friesian and Jersey cross cows in South Taranaki on the west coast, the Lawrences have seamlessly integrated innovation into their daily operations, producing an impressive 200,000 kg of annual milk solids.
Improving Results with smaXtec
In 2020 Hayden implemented the unique smaXtec bolus technology and since then has achieved several improvements in different areas. "Using smaXtec has improved heat detection, reduced mastitis cases and costs by 64% and 56%, respectively and helped better manage calving, calf health and fresh calvers. " For him it's not just technology; it's a strategic fusion of innovation, protocols, and teamwork driving these improvements. “We spend five minutes looking at the data trends which indicate heat, sickness, health etc. before the morning milking, and five minutes before the afternoon milking – this is part of all our protocols, and it saved us a lot of time.”
Strategic Investment in Breeding Management
With 300 Holstein Friesians and 100 Jersey cross cows, managing breeding efficiently became a priority. Hayden's strategic move of investing in smaXtec boluses was a decision rooted in practicality and a commitment to the well-being of the herd: "smaXtec boluses deliver what we need — information on cow activity, rumination, and temperatures." Especially the insemination window is of great use for him: “We use the insemination windows to maximise breeding efficiency.” He first tried the smaXtec system with his spring-calving herd before they were inseminated over nine weeks from October to December, “In October we undertook our first mating with no other heat detection aids”, he explains. “It was so successful that in March 2021 we administered boluses to the autumn-calving herd as well”.
Proactive Mastitis Management
The boluses, introduced for breeding efficiency, have proven equally effective in mastitis management. Hayden shares the success of their mastitis protocol implemented in 2021: "The bolus enables early detection through any abnormal increase in body temperature." This proactive approach has significantly reduced the annual mastitis cases: “Our annual cases have dropped from 50-60 cases to 10-20 cases across the herd.” The proactive health management with the smaXtec system works for Hayden Lawrence: “For example, we had a cow that had a temperature and her rumination was starting to drop – she was about to become quite sick. We flagged her.”