Haines Watts North Devon Rural consultancy hosts Cowsignals training day

Haines Watts Rural Business / Mike Feneley

June 09, 2014

Two bespoke Cowsignals® workshops organised by Haines Watts Rural Business LLP jointly attracted 70 dairy farmers from across Devon and Cornwall. The individual training days sponsored by Cornish Mutual and Harpers Home Mix Ltd with funding accessed via Healthy Livestock, were held at Penn Farm, Ashburton, Newton Abbot and Shernick Farm, in Holsworthy.

The basis of Cowsignals® is observing the cow’s body language and translating it to management. It lays a solid foundation for the management of farms and helps to demonstrate how to monitor and improve management to ensure that farmers and cows are achieving optimum health, performance and welfare on farms.

The Cowsignals® concept developed by Jan Hulsen and Joep Drissen of training company Vetvice based in the Netherlands is active in over 45 countries.Haines Watts Rural Business appointed David Wilde a Ruminant Nutritionist and Product Manager for Massey Feeds, sister firm to Harpers Home Mix Ltd, as the trainer.A Cowsignals® master trainer for over two years David’s full-day training included both theory and practical exercises for the farmers.The farmers were then split in to small groups to observe the cows, and David demonstrated where farmers can learn to pick up the cow’s signals and use them effectively.

David Wilde, Certified Cowsignals® Trainer says: “The concept was devised in 1997 by Dutch vets as a tool for dairy farmers to reassess and revaluate their herds and look at what they are telling us.Over the last 4 – 5 years it has moved at a rapid pace worldwide and is now in trained in nearly 50 countries.It gives a fascinating insight into what the cow is telling us and what small changes may make a world of difference to her.Cows give out signals all the time about the environment in which they are living and whether they are happy or discontent.Cows don't know how to lie and the purpose of the training day was to educate farmers to recognise the host of signals they give and to recognise how they are feeling.Farmers can then interpret this body language and act on it.An example is are we doing the best we can in the housing area during winter to mimic the natural and healthy outdoor environment?Content and comfortable cows who are eating well provide better milk and higher fertility, which is something farmers should take very seriously.”

Haines Watts Rural Business LLP provide a unique combination of agricultural and financial expertise to rural business in the South West. The firm offers both personal and business support to managers and owners to develop and put in place tailored farm strategies, annual plans and improvement projects together with technical advice.

Lucy Thomas, Farming Consultant – Haines Watts Rural Business LLP says: “We wanted to organise these special events to give our farming clients the tools they need to do their job more effectively and help to have a more profitable business as a result..The invaluable training and expertise given by David means that they will have healthier and more content cows which in turn will increase the milk yield and help them to make more money and grow the business.It was also a great way of bringing our farming clients together to share their own knowledge and experience.The feedback has been very positive and the events have proved to be very successful and worthwhile.”

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