Since 1956 the Stein Farm has been a family-owned operation in the heart of Leroy, New York. Today Natasha Sutherland, co-owner and herd manager, runs the farm following the example of her grandparents Jane and Bud Stein, who initially bought the property. Over the years, the farm steadily grew to now house over 1,000 mature cows and 800 young stock.
“We didn't know what we didn't know.”
The high number of animals has led to some challenges, as the ever-growing number of cows has made it increasingly difficult for the team around Natasha to keep a close eye on all the cows at all times. “In November 2022, we invested in the smaXtec system. That tool has been so helpful in terms of my human resources. I've been able to identify to the guys, ‘Hey, these four cows are going to calve tonight.’ Not, ‘Watch these 40 cows tonight’", Natasha describes her experience with smaXtec.
The system gave Natasha valuable insights into the health and behaviour of her herd and enables her to manage the farm in a more efficient way. Before implementing smaXtec, Natasha admitted, "We didn't know what we didn't know." That has changed massively since the use of the smaXtec system: “Now that we have smaXtec in our cows, the sheer amount of data that we're receiving has been instrumental in helping us to understand what it's going to take to move forward, to be a more productive, more effective herd.”
A healthier herd with smaXtec
The invaluable insights provided by smaXtec have become an indispensable part of their daily operations. Specifically the early disease detection made it a lot easier for Natasha to maintain the health of her herd. “We've been able to identify mastitis in the cows before the staff members can actually visibly see the symptoms in the parlour. Also, other diseases can be detected in an early stage, for example ketosis. There's fresh cows that are drinking copious amounts of water constantly. Being able to identify that and realize that it's a ketotic cow trying to work her way through, has been really really helpful for my fresh cow health.”
Natasha also relies on the smaXtec system when it comes to reproduction: “We let the system guide us between who needs to go to the veterinarian for a pregnancy check and who needs to be re-inseminated. smaXtec is very accurate in detecting heat animals that I wouldn't have thought were on heat.”
Together we succeed
The installation process for Natasha was “incredibly easy”, she says. “It just took deciding where exactly our readers needed to go. It was four screws and a wall, and the system was up and running.”
Natasha particularly appreciates the close cooperation with the smaXtec team. “With smaXtec, you totally get the feel that our success is their success. With my support team, with my salesperson, they're on farm if I need a hand because if I'm going to elevate the property, they're going to come ride along with me. It's not just a me, it's an us.”