Stu and Sara Russell, leading dairy farmers in Ashburton, New Zealand, have embraced the next generation of cow health monitoring technology with smaXtec's boluses. In their 50/50 agreement with Sara's parents, they manage 750 cows on 280 hectares. As pioneers in adopting smaXtec in April 2021, Stu and Sara were one of the first farms in New Zealand to explore its potential. Sara remarks, "smaXtec helps us detect animal health issues early and has become an integrated part of our day to day farming. It is the only product that will give you each cow's individual internal temperature, ensuring early detection of health problems."
Unrivalled Support in Health Management
The unique smaXtec bolus measures data directly inside the cow, offering unrivalled accuracy in health metrics to support farmers in successful health management. Sara explains, "The temperature function has been the biggest win for us, since it helps us detect animal health issues early. We have reduced our bulk SCC significantly since installing smaXtec by using the temperature increase alerts to detect mastitis early, also reducing the need to strip the entire herd on a regular basis."
Knowledge Empowers Effective Treatment
Sara emphasizes the power of knowledge, knowledge that she gains through smaXtec: "Every cow is different, but knowledge is undoubtedly power. smaXtec means we can see what is going on with each individual cow even when we can't see her. We use the smaXtec health alerts to program alerts in the cowshed so each cow with a temperature alert is checked at the next milking, meaning we are detecting animal health problems a lot quicker." Thanks to the early detection through the smaXtec system Sara was also able to reduce her antibiotics usage. “We pick up mastitis three days earlier than normal with the system – so nine out of 10 times when we paddle test the milk, we can treat with a non-withhold anti-inflammatory. That’s kicking 75% of our mastitis straight off” Sara said.
A Win for Farm Profitability
smaXtec also helped regarding the profitability of the farm: “The smaXtec system has saved us around $36,000 in direct antibiotic costs and $6500 in scratchies which we didn’t have to buy for heat detection this season. That’s before I consider the added income from milk which didn’t have to be withheld, and the cows’ peak production and conception which wasn’t impacted by illness.”
Helpful Beyond Health Management
Beyond health management, smaXtec has proven successful in heat detection, achieving up to 72 % conception and 10.5 % overall empty rate this spring. Sara attests to the control and confidence the system provides: "Having smaXtec in the cows means that I can head away from the farm for the day but still keep an eye on all the girls. During mating, it means I can see which cows are due to be inseminated and select the bulls I will use even if I'm not at the cowshed," she says, emphasizing the system's proactive approach to preventative animal health. Sara was so convinced of the smaXtec system, that she now works as a customer success consultant at smaXtec. "I genuinely love the system, and I have a ridiculously large passion for cows. I like that smaXtec is so focussed on proactive preventative animal health. I think it offers a huge benefit to farmers and a huge benefit for the cows, because it’s improving outcomes in our day-to-day animal management.”