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Censortec and Alfco join forces to offer full heat detection and drafting integration


Donagh Crowley of Censortec and Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services

Donagh Crowley of Censortec and Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services

Donagh Crowley of Censortec and Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services

A new partnership between Censortec Ireland and Alfco Farm Services will bring together two of Ireland’s market leaders in farming technology.

The two companies have built their reputations on providing technological solutions that make life easier for dairy farmers, through Censortec’s Nedap CowControl heat detection and animal health monitoring system and Alfco’s drafting gate systems. They have now joined forces to provide farmers with an integrated smart system that can easily draft animals that are in heat or in need of treatment.

Speaking about the new partnership, Donagh Crowley of Censortec said it would provide dairy farmers with the combined expertise and technology of two industry leaders.

“You’re getting the global leader in heat detection and health monitoring systems partnered with the Irish leader in drafting gate systems. The farmer gets the benefit of the two systems and the benefit of expertise in support for the two systems,” says Donagh.

“The companies have one very similar approach – it’s all about the farmer. We concentrate on supporting and continuously improving the farmer’s experience in using Censortec Nedap CowControl and Kieran and Alfco have the very same approach when it comes to their products.”

"The partnership technically combines the two products, creating a solution that allows farmers to work more accurate and safe and maximise efficiency and profitability of the farm.

"Heat and health attentions and alerts from the Censortec system are seamlessly integrated and connected to the Alfco drafting app. This saves farmers an enormous amount of time and labor, as tasks associated with visual heat detection and health monitoring as well as manual drafting are now fully automated and integrated.

"In addition, it provides farmers with the information needed to make informed breeding and treatment decisions about drafted cows. Both systems have proven to be exceptionally reliable, giving many farmers across the country and beyond the confidence and peace of mind that cows in need of attention will be accurately detected and drafted. We are currently installing combined systems in multiple locations around Ireland."

Kieran Kerrigan of Alfco Farm Services said the partnership was a good fit that would bring together two complementary systems to increase farm efficiency.

“Censortec would be the market leaders in heat detection and health monitoring so when we went out to look for a partner, we saw Censortec as the people to go with,” adds Kieran.

“They’re experts in the field of heat detection and we like to think we’re experts in the field of drafting gates. The farmer is getting the latest, most up to date way of carrying out their tasks.”

Heat detection and health monitoring

Censortec Ireland provides Nedap CowControl heat detection and health monitoring for the whole island of Ireland. Nedap is the global leader in heat detection and health analysis of dairy animals. They are producing heat detection systems for over 40 years and the largest supplier of heat detection systems globally.

Censortec Nedap CowControl uses the latest technology to monitor and track the heats of cows 24 hours a day, including signs of heat like sniffing, chin resting, mounting and standing heat. The system monitors heats with outstanding accuracy through the Smarttag Neck Collar and transfers all the data in real time, so you can easily access it on a phone, tablet or computer. It is this data that is now being transferred to the Alfco drafting systems which will conveniently draft all the animals on heat attention.

“There is a small window to catch heats and there is even a smaller window to illustrate the optimum time for insemination,” says Donagh Crowley. “The Censortec Nedap CowControl system picks up the optimum time for insemination of each dairy cow. In the past couple of years, sexed semen has become more widely used in the Irish market. Timing of artificial insemination with sexed semen is absolutely critical. Censortec Nedap CowControl will illustrate this time and will increase your returns on using Sexed Semen”

Censortec Nedap CowControl removes the need for tail painting, cow watching and other labour-intensive activities while increasing accuracy and making high submission rates a realistic target for dairy farmers. It aims to make the farm a safer place with regards the reduction in bulls and now the availability of auto drafting with the ALFCO Drafting System.

“Censortec Nedap CowControl can sometimes be seen as a heat detection system only,” says Donagh. “However, the system is also one of the most reliable and robust systems available for full health monitoring.”

Censortec Nedap CowControl monitoring systems are able to detect possible health issues days before their symptoms by providing accurate and complete information with regards to eating activity, rumination patterns and inactive behaviour, during which the cow is neither eating nor ruminating.

Finding and addressing potentially sick cows saves time, medical costs, death loss and milk production because the cows can bounce back quickly and return to peak health.

If a cow does have acute mastitis, the health alert can help you to identify and diagnose it before more obvious symptoms appear like swelling, hardness, redness and heat. The same goes for cases of ketosis, displaced abomasums or milk fever.

If you require any information on the system, just go to the Censortec website.

Ireland’s leading provider of drafting gates

Alfco farm services was established in 1978 and the Trim-based business provides automatic scrapers, stall work, feeding troughs and various gates for use in milking parlours.

“Our big project over the last number of years has been around drafting gates and that’s where we are going into partnership with Censortec,” says Kieran Kerrigan.

“The drafting gate is for where you have a one-man operation and he has to sort out cows. The drafting gate is a piece of equipment where you key in the cow’s number into a keypad at the front of the pit and as the cow exits the milking parlour, it will separate that cow from the rest of the herd. It’s a huge labour-saving device.”

He adds that their drafting gates are a 100pc Irish-made product, with everything from the steelwork to the electronics being made in-house.

“Once farmers get used to a drafting gate, they just can’t live without it. It’s a very important piece of equipment to a farmer. If you take a farmer with 200 cows and he wants to pick out 10 of the 200, it is a major task. You would need someone to help you.

“With a drafting gate, it’s something you can do on your own. The other thing is you don’t have to rouse the cows or frighten them when you’re doing it. They’re automatically drafted out and they don’t realise they are after being separated from the rest of the cows so it’s a process that doesn’t excite the animals.”

After identifying animals that need to be drafted via the Censortec Nedap CowControl system, the Alfco Drafting Gate can be remotely set up to remove them with a minimum of fuss. So when a farmer receives a notification to say that a cow is in heat or that there’s a health issue, he can simply instruct the drafting gate to separate her from the herd.

Key features of the Alfco Drafting Gate


  • Works with EID tags
  • Cows without tags can be selected and separated from cows with tags
  • Double antenna guarantees 99.9pc tag read rate.
  • Cow count function at each milking
  • Fully functional mobile app communicates with the gate from any location
  • Keypad as standard in pit
  • Remote control can be added.
  • Cows drafted through a non-return gate - these gates do not allow her to return through the drafting chute

The new partnership will make it easier for farmers to remotely monitor and control their dairy herd, easily identifying issues or heats in cows and effortlessly moving them from A to B.

To learn more about heat detection with activity monitoring systems and how they can help your farm reach its productivity goals, visit the Censortec website. Or contact them on 086 8592968.

For information on the Alfco Drafting Gate, contact Kieran on 087 2583952.