Jeff Peek We know Cow case study Jeff Peek We know Cow case study

Jeff Peek | We know cow

Technology has to become every farmer’s best friend, says Waikato contract milker Jeff Peek.

LocationFarm SizeHerd Size
Maihiihi, Waikato190ha effective575 Kiwi-cross cows milked at peak


  • Less demand on labour over mating period
  • Happier, healthier cows from closer monitoring
  • Entry to milking mobs guided by cow
    rumination levels

Technology has to become every farmer’s best friend, says Waikato contract milker Jeff Peek.

He and wife Jasmine are in their third season contract milking for farm owners Stephen and Penny Sanson at Maihiihi, south-east of Otorohonga, milking 575 cows at peak on their 190ha (effective) unit.

Their first season produced stellar production of 228,000kg milksolids, but last season it dipped to 210,000kg because of a long period of very dry weather. Their 2022-23 season has been just as tricky to manage, but for different reasons.

“It’s been very wet but I’m pleased to say our production looks on track to finish the season at about 225,000kg, thanks to some tweaks we’ve made to our system,” Jeff says.

SenseHub Dairy technology and Allflex collars were installed in August 2021 and provided immediate
benefits, particularly reduced pressure on staff at mating time and early detection of health issues
in the herd.

The need for an extra labour unit in the shed during mating to pick cows on heat was eliminated when the
collars went on.

“Instead of having to be on the stand in the shed for more than three hours at every morning milking
selecting cows on heat over several weeks, I became a productive labour unit overnight.”

Jeff and his two full time staff now have regular sleep-ins and more time off during mating. A break
away from the farm during mating last spring was a first for Jeff in many years of dairy farming.

“My wife and I were able to head south and do the Lake Dunstan cycle trail during mating last year.

That’s never been able to happen before,” he says.

“My eldest son also has a birthday during mating and in the past, I’ve never been able to be there when he
wakes up and opens his presents in the morning. But having the collars has changed that.”

The 2021 mating period was particularly challenging because of the prolonged and unusually dry period
the Waikato region endured that year. Jeff says the reproductive performance suffered, though he’s quick
to acknowledge the SenseHub system and collars performed as expected.

“I can’t fault the collars for any of it. They did a fantastic job picking up the cows on heat each day. It
was really just feeding that caused the lower six week in-calf rate that year.”

There was a dramatic improvement in the 2022 mating in spite of the wet cool conditions that prevailed leading into and through the mating period. Empty rate dropped by 7% on the 2021 result and the herd’s six week in-calf rate lifted by 10%. Conception rate rose by 5% too.

“We have the luxury of being later in the morning on the AI r un so we get the opportunity to draft off cows showing on heat and then double-check them before our technician arrives.”

He operates a total artificial insemination policy with no bulls on the farm. Replacement heifers are produced from the first five weeks of mating, before another six week block of short gestation Kiwi-cross or beef semen is used. A bottom cut of 10% (on Breeding Worth) of cows go to beef bull semen.

After a second year of having the SenseHub Dairy technology in place, Jeff feels he’s now gaining extra value from the data and reports as his understanding and experience grows from using it.

“Just being able to drill into those reports in a lot more detail helped with feeding and getting on top of a lot of the health issues coming into mating last spring. When mating started, our cows were a lot healthier and happier than previous years and that showed in our results.”

SenseHub Dairy data also allows him to manage freshly calved cows more closely than just by checking them in the paddock. They are held close to the dairy shed and their rumination data is checked regularly so any health alerts are promptly investigated.

Jeff has introduced a once-a-day-mob comprising mainly first and second-calving cows and some older cows recovering from a difficult calving, ill health or lameness. About 40% of all cows are in this mob.

Jeff Peek We know cow case study

“When mating started, our cows were a lot healthier and happier than previous years and that showed in our results.”

Jeff peek

Next calving, his plan is to more closely monitor each cow’s rumination data to help determine when it is
ready to move from the freshly calved mob into one of the milking mobs.

The SenseHub Dairy data reports are increasingly being used by the farm’s vet who recently completed
a training module with an MSD/Allflex Technical Vet Specialist.

Jeff says allowing their vet access to the system remotely when cows are showing health alerts is the
obvious next step so he can intervene earlier and have a health report available on the animal before arriving
at the farm to treat her.

He and his second-in-charge are both running the mobile phone app which provides access to the SenseHub Dairy reports any time of the day or night.

Jeff has no hesitation in recommending the technology and the ongoing training and support offered by the Allflex team. “I really can’t fault them; it’s been excellent all the way through.”

“If we do strike a problem, we know we can call the after service number and know we’ll get an answer
from someone who understands what we’re after.”

The collars are simple to fit to each cow and Jeff says he’s only had an issue with one collar in the past
two years.

“Our internal rotary was actually ideal for the collar fitting because all the cows are facing out and we got
through the fitting really easily and smoothly. Our trainer couldn’t believe how well it went,” he says.

If you would like our indicative pricing flyer emailed to you and or to book your farm visit, please complete the below enquiry form.

Thanks to NZ Farm Life Media for working with us on the We know cow series to deliver you this in-depth analysis on Allflex / SenseHub Monitoring Solutions. Read articles from NZ Farm Life Media’s Dairy Exporter here.

Monitoring Solutions – Branding Explanation

The brand names for our monitoring solution have been subject to changes since recording our videos and farmer stories.

MSD Animal Health, a division of the MSD group of companies under Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ., U.S.A. and a global provider of animal health pharmaceuticals and technologies, purchased the Allflex New Zealand business in 2019 (including certain SCR-branded animal monitoring technologies). At the time, Allflex animal monitoring solutions were known as Allflex collars and the relevant desktop-based software was HeatTime Pro (both of which you may hear about in this video). The dairy monitoring solutions are now branded SenseHub® Dairy – MSD Animal Health’s desktop-based software is now known as Dataflow II™ and cloud-based monitoring software is known as a SenseHub® Dairy solution. Allflex remains the brand name which represents our identification solutions.