Watching for ‘Cow Signals’ is time well spent

Amélie Mainville Nadon explains that Cow Signals is based on assessing six freedoms that impact a cow’s health and production – water, air, light, space, rest and feed.

Every time a cow takes a lame step or stands for a long period of time she’s sending a signal.

Farmers who read those signals and respond with efforts to improve cow comfort are rewarded with increased cow longevity and more profit in their pocket. That’s the return on investing in Cow Signals, according to Agribrands Purina Canadian dairy technical manager Amélie Mainville Nadon.

At the recent Canadian Dairy XPO in Stratford, Ont., Mainville Nadon took to the stage at the CDX dairy classroom to show farmers how they can utilize the Cow Signals program to evaluate how well they are observing and listening to their cows. Developed by veterinarian Joep Driessen, the program is now offered by Agribrands Purina, who draw on the talents of 28 Cow Signals master trainers to work with farm customers.

In this interview, Mainville Nadon explains that Cow Signals is based on assessing six freedoms that impact a cow’s health and production – water, air, light, space, rest, and feed. When it comes to rest, for example, Mainville Nadon explains that a typical cow will lie down nine hours a day. For each additional hour she lies down, up to a total of 14 hours, the cow can actually increase production by one litre per hour. That can put an additional five litres per cow, per day in the milk tank.

But to realize that return, farmers have to invest time and resources to read the signals. When farmers know how much time their cows are resting, they can then make the management decisions required to make stalls more comfortable and encourage cows to rest.

Click here for more Canadian Dairy XPO coverage.


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


Wheat prices jump into August — This week in the grain markets

This week, winter wheat prices touched a three-year high, but it didn’t last. Chicago SRW wheat prices for September 2018 gained 5 per cent or about 26 cents US/bushel to close at $5.56. While the December 2018 contract was up 5.4 percent — or nearly 30 cents — to finish a tad under $5.80. In…Read more »


Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.