In it for the long haul

Collars for detecting heat and monitoring cow health are just the beginning of a healthy pipeline of new features in development by MSD Animal Health for its Allflex Livestock Intelligence business.

MSD’s SenseHub package of cow monitoring collars and data management platform is leading the way in New Zealand. MSD’s New Zealand Livestock Business Unit Lead Pauline Calvert says the company is making a considerable investment to continuously develop innovative benefits that will support a successful and sustainable dairy sector in New Zealand. “It’s great to be part of a company that is not only delivering leading technology to dairy farms right now but has a real eye on the future to continuously build on the strong foundation we have already developed,” she says. “I believe what’s important to our customers is knowing they will have our support for the life of the solution they are investing in. We are resourcing our team to be able to keep our commitment to supporting our farmers on their journey with technology on farm. “We are in this for the long haul. We won’t just roll out products and disappear.

For us, it’s all about integrity, innovation and trust so our customers should never have to question anything that we deliver and support in the marketplace,” she says. MSD Animal Health plans to move all its Monitoring and Automation solutions under the SenseHub brand so farmer clients will be on a single, cloud-based SenseHub Dairy solution. SenseHub combines all the technology into a single platform, accessed through desktop or mobile application.

The collars fitted to each cow together with the trusted sales and support teams are unchanged. “All of the data and information is there on a single device, which makes decisions easy, right down to an individual animal. It doesn’t matter if a herd has 200 or 2000 cows, our system produces real time data that puts farmers, their staff or their veterinarian in the box seat to be proactive “There’s lots more to come, so I want to encourage farmers to join us and experience the immediate benefits a SenseHub solution delivers, but know

that they are investing in a solution that will continue to keep pace with new features to ensure NZ dairy farming is sustainable in the future.” Later in 2023, individual cow milk quality data such as Somatic Cell Count will be added to the list of SenseHub animal insights. Calvert joined MSD Animal Health in 2014 as part of the Veterinary Team. She took over the Livestock Business Unit Lead role in 2018 with a team of 18 staff and less than six years on, she’s now managing a team of more than 90 after two game-changing acquisitions – Allflex and Livestock Improvement Corporation’s Automation businesses (LICA).

Calvert says both acquisitions reflect MSD’s global strategy to invest beyond its traditional bio- pharmaceutical base into technology companies that deliver on-farm efficiency and greater productivity down to an individual animal level. Combining animal health innovation, herd and individual animal data insights drive better animal wellbeing, production and farm sustainability “MSD Animal Health already has made strong investments to support the farming industry. The significant upgrade of our Animal Health vaccine plant at Upper Hutt in Wellington is a good example of our commitment to develop and produce quality products here in NZ. “These world-class vaccines are manufactured not only for New Zealand but around the world and MSD is proud to be creating all that right here. It’s a great success story for NZ Inc.” Calvert says NZ farmers are well ahead of those in many other countries because they are early adopters of animal health innovation and new technologies, and pioneering R&D from trusted animal health company like MSD.

As one of 10 veterinarians in the MSD Animal Health NZ team, she’s particularly excited by the opportunity for the data insights gained from the SenseHub collars to help vets consult on farm and assist with making decisions with their clients. “We’re actively engaging with industry partners, like vets and milk processors, so that we can maximise the opportunity to improve on-farm outcomes.

By having all the data available on one platform makes it simple for farmers and their veterinarian to review it and assess the need for proactive intervention,” she says. “That’s what is so exciting about working at a company like MSD Animal Health. It understands the need to invest in research and development to create solutions that really add value behind the farm gate.

“I really encourage people to join us on our journey, it’s exciting, and it’s a journey that we are really committed to. There is so much opportunity to work together to improve the NZ dairy industry for a better future for the animals and the people employed in it.”

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