With two dairies on adjoining farms and a black spot for mobile phones, Cowley's Creek farmer Matt Grant had to come up with innovative solutions to improve herd health and communication.
A new system connecting the internet from his home to the two dairies has done the trick.
Matt was awarded $2500 at the 2020 WestVic Dairy awards which he used for IT work to link the two milking sheds with a new electronic herd-management system.
Matt received the funding after being named the WestVic Dairy young farm leader of 2020, an award supported by the DemoDAIRY Foundation.
More innovators like Matt are being highlighted thanks to the launch of the Dairy Innovation Challenge.
The inaugural winner is set to be named on April 27 after nearly 20 ideas caught the attention of judges.
Judges are now reviewing a shortlisted list of innovations and ideas, with most interest being generated in on-farm and sustainability areas.
Innovation Challenge coordinator and Regional Rising CEO Paul Dillon said there had been an impressive array of ideas in the 19 applications
"There was particularly strong interest in the on-farm and environment and sustainability categories," Mr Dillon said.
At Matt's Cowley's Creek operation his innovation focused on streamlining herd management and connectivity.
His operation is split across two farms with Matt doing the "hard work" such as A.I, drying off and calving in one while the other just milks.
Cattle are moved depending on food availability, milk quotas, staffing and other factors such as joining.
Running two farms, milking about 430 cows and calving three times a year means life is always hectic.
"I installed an Easy dairy draft gate and herd management software system in 2015 to help manage the different calving groups," Matt said.
"Running Easy Dairy and the collars, it made sense to have everything talking to each other. It's awesome.
"It allowed us to do a full techno upgrade to help with the collars. Because of the way the farms undulate, we can't have all of the readers in just one spot. We needed the internet available to transfer the data between dairies.
"They help with heat detection which allows me to more accurately A.I cows when they're due for joining, and the health monitoring picks up any cows that may be having health issues early. Herd test results are instantly available to be loaded into the system.
"This is a great feature as I don't get to eyeball the cows in both herds every day.
"Previously I had to be in the dairy for every milking during joining, now the collars and the draft gate operate automatically, reducing reliance on skilled labour."
The April ABVs have provided positive reinforcement that Australian jersey genetics are world leading and meet dairy farmer needs across the globe.
Jersey Australia general manager Glen Barrett said the ABVs continued the trend of a strong, stable proof run for Jerseys.
The results were highlighted by a number of bulls graduating to proven bull status.
Jersey Australia's Positive Selection list continues to grow. Bulls must be active genomic tested and have positive ABVs for milk, fat and protein percentage, overall type, mammary and fertility. In the latest release, 39 bulls met this criterion with an average BPI of 302, providing farmers a wide range of bulls that meet key selection criteria and drive profitability.
DOUGGAN retained the number one proven bull spot, shared with his Genetics Australia and Con and Michelle Glennen's White Star Jerseys stablemate DOBSON, both on a BPI of 413.
PICKLE was the number one genomic bull with a BPI of 420, bred by Luke and Mel Wallace at Wallacedale Jerseys in Poowong Victoria and also marketed by Genetics Australia.
IMPECCABLE, marketed by AgriGene and bred by Kaarmona Jerseys, was the number two genomic bull with a BPI of 404.
White Star Jerseys from Noorat in south-west Victoria returned to the number one herd position with a BPI of 207, followed by Brookbora Jerseys at number two with a BPI of 202 and Rob and Kerrie Anderson's Kings Ville Jerseys at three with a BPI of 178.
Con and Michelle Glennen said the top spot reflected their focus on continual improvement.
"We're taking out at the bottom and breeding at the front; every cow has to justify her existence for being there," Michelle said.
We still aim to breed a well-engineered, milky, low-cell count, function animal- Michelle Glennen
"We still aim to breed a well-engineered, milky, low-cell count, function animal."
Con added that they had "thrown the net a bit wider looking for more outcrosses," with bulls from Denmark, New Zealand and America.
The herd was second in the previous proof run.
In the cow rankings, the top young heifer was Langdale Matt Naomi 2, bred and owned by Darien and Alex Mathews from Langdale Jerseys at Mardan Victoria.
Top cow was #19735 and AUSSIGOLD daughter bred by Alan Burgess and recently purchased by Rohan and Graham Sprunt at Kaarmona Victoria with a BPI of 531.