Livestock producers are turning to technology to detect disease in their cattle using a tool from Merck Animal Health called Whisper on Arrival.
And now, Dr. Justin Welsh, Executive Director of U.S. Livestock Technical Services with Merck Animal Health, says there’s a second option called SenseHub Feedlot.
“That is an on-animal tag, if you will, a device that fits on their ear and does a very similar thing,” according to Welsh. “It’s not necessarily a diagnosis of respiratory disease. It’s a diagnosis of something’s wrong.”
Welsh says respiratory illness is most common.
“Ninety percent of the disease diagnosis in a feed yard is respiratory disease, so kind of by default, it picks up respiratory disease very early. But it also picks up other abnormal things too that we’re finding and it keeps piling on. I mean, as we get machine learning and all that, the more data we get, the more we learn about how these animals act in the pen and what changes they’re showing us that they need help.”
Welsh says the technology also helps livestock producers when it comes to the ongoing labor shortage.
“The obvious labor advantage is there, right, and what we’re finding with that is it decreases the need for a pen rider to go in each individual pen by about 50 percent or 60 percent of their time.”
Welsh says the technology is a big change for some.
“There’s a lot of acceptance, but there’s also intimidation, no doubt, right. The people we deal with have done what they’ve done for a long time and are extremely, extremely good at it so why would I need something to tell me when to pull that animal.”
But the bottom line, Welsh says, is that the technology helps streamline cattle operations.
“One of my customers, clients one time when I was in practice, I’ll never forget him saying this. He said, you know, as veterinarians we tend to beat ourselves up pretty good physically, working you know, with large animals and those kinds of things, and he told me one time, he said, you know at some point in your life you’re going to realize that you have to learn how to work smarter not harder or you’re not going to make it, right. And I think these technologies really mold into that philosophy.”
Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s report on how Merck Animal Health’s SenseHub Feedlot helps detect disease in cattle.