Paessler contributes to greater efficiency and better welfare for cows with CowManager
Originally published on April 14, 2023 by Patrick Gebhardt
Last updated on April 14, 2023 • 11 minute read
CowManager is an innovative company that combines common sense, technology and innovation. Using CowManager’s tools, farmers can monitor the cows on their farm 24/7. With real-time information on fertility, health, nutrition and location, farmers know exactly which cows need attention and when. This data helps them to work more efficiently and also helps to avoid unnecessary medical costs. This in turn improves the overall health and milk production of cows. Plus, the CowManager system also helps to focus labor needed on a farm.
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All data collected is saved to the cloud. This information is analyzed for farmers and supplied to them via a mobile app or their computer. It is therefore essential for this data to be stored and processed correctly. Network connection, stored data and processes for analysis and feedback are monitored by Paessler PRTG monitoring software.
With the growing world population and increasing prosperity, sustainable milk production is more important than ever. At the same time, laws and regulations are becoming stricter, while raw materials, labor and energy are becoming more expensive. For these reasons, sustainability and productivity are more important than ever for dairy farmers. In 2004, Gerard Griffioen (founder of CowManager and a dairy farmer himself) visited a dairy farm in Wisconsin (USA). Gerard saw them improvising to get a better grip on their farm’s yield and decided to intervene. This was the beginning of CowManager.
Everything CowManager does is focused on the needs of the dairy farmer.
CowManager is constantly evolving to support dairy farmers with innovative solutions and insights to continue to manage the challenges they face.
CowManager is a revolutionary cow ear sensor for dairy farmers. The sensor
provides accurate information on the fertility, health, nutrition and location of each
individual cow in a herd. CowManager makes the lives of dairy farmers easier
thanks to a proven combination of sensors, routers and software based on years
of experience in the dairy farming sector and years of research, testing and development. CowManager’s head office is based in the Netherlands. From there they work
with farmers all over the world.
Real-time overview of all cows
The company was started by a farmer’s son, who took over the business from his father and was interested in monitoring and measuring things on a farm. “A good farmer can see if a cow is sick or in heat (ready for mating),” Hiddink explains. But not 24/7. This is what inspired Gerard Griffioen, the farmer’s son who launched the company that had a keen interest in automation, to look for an alternative solution, eventually leading to the creation of the CowManager ear sensor we know today. By matching sensor reading to observations, software could be developed that translated the movements of cows into behavior/well-being.
Based on these insights, and combined with Paessler’s monitoring solution, CowManager can see what cows are doing and whether their movements are still considered healthy. This knowledge is the basis of what they can now detect with all the sensors combined (and there are a lot of them!). “We also provide monitoring for large-scale farms. Some of these farms have over 20,000 cows. Paessler helps to dramatically
increase our efficiency.”
Farmers work hard and have long days. But they can’t be constantly alerted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CowManager is here to help. The CowManager tool is now also available for small dairy farms. Farmers can work outside during the day and still keep an eye on the cows when they get home. “In order to provide the service we do, it’s vital that our systems function properly and retrieve data. That’s why we use Paessler’s PRTG to monitor that everything runs smoothly. This way our systems can keep running and we can intervene immediately as and when necessary.
“In order to provide the service we do, it’s vital that our systems function properly and retrieve data. That’s why we use Paessler PRTG to monitor everything smoothly. This way our systems can keep running and we can intervene immediately as and when necessary.”
Gert-Jan Hiddink, DevOps Engineer at CowManager
Working with Paessler PRTG Hosted Monitor
CowManager now works entirely in the cloud thanks to Paessler. The head office still
contains a couple of servers, but, according to Hiddink, as soon as these are gone,
the whole company will become completely cloud-based. A few years ago this was
unthinkable, but the transition has been fast. One of the factors that has played a
huge role in this is Paessler’s extensive customer base. Thank to the large number
of (international) users, a lot of information about PRTG and other solutions can be
The move from PRTG on-premises server to a hosted server was a relatively big step.
The Paessler online community however provided an ideal outcome: “We had lots
of sensors that had been defined and which could not be transferred one-by-one. I
was quickly able to find the information I needed through the online community. By
using the Powershell module ‘prtgapi’ (courtesy of lordmilko), we were able to create
a script that recreates our whole PRTG configuration at the touch of a button. The
large PRTG community is Paessler’s great strength.”
Always keep running
According to Hiddink, PRTG always runs with CowManager. This way the company’s
systems are continuously being monitored even when employees are busy with other
matters. “Part of our infrastructure runs with Azure. This information is then sent to
PRTG via Powershell. Paessler is a great solution for us. We get alerts sent directly to
our phones and if something goes wrong somewhere, we can immediately deal with
it. It’s our lifeline. Paessler gives us a sense of security no matter what the time of day.”
What the CowManager team greatly appreciates about PRTG is that new information can be added to a sensor very easily. Powershell allows data to be retrieved from a variety of sources and recorded in PRTG. “This gives us a single system with which to monitor our operational processes.” According to Hiddink, this too emphasizes the strength of Paessler’s PRTG solution.
PRTG is constantly developing, and customers have a major influence on this. “If you find something, you can indicate this, and you’ll be able to see if an adjustment or modification is possible. Paessler’s culture fits well with the atmosphere of our company. We monitor the system together and share joint responsibility. We’re keeping an eye on development and always trying to see if we can use PRTG in other ways.”
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