Hanke Farms Reduces Hormone and Antibiotic Expenses with CowManager

News and Updates

Management efficiencies have a significant impact on a producer's bottom line. Even small adjustments can create more flexibility in the monthly budget and improve cow health. The Hanke family in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin learned early that if you take good care of the cows, the cows will take good care of you. This focus on animal well-being, coupled with the opportunity for increased productivity, led the Hankes to install CowManager® on their farm in 2022.

Hanke Farms milks just under 1,000 Registered Holsteins with a rolling herd average greater than 100 pounds. With 1,280 CowManager sensors, they ensure 100% coverage of the herd. Focusing on reproduction and overall animal health, the Hankes implemented the fertility and health CowManager modules.

Herd Health Report 

“Preventative and proactive treatment” is the motto that the Hankes live by. They recognize that they may work with more cows early, but preventing illness and health events in the long run is paying dividends. Through this preventative approach, the Hankes have seen a significant reduction in hormone and antibiotic use and expense, resulting in an annual savings of $34,138. This pencils out to approximately $36 per cow, per year. Of particular note, prostaglandin (PGF) use in the heifer herd has reduced by a whopping 90%.

“Hanke Farms’ implementation of the CowManager system was a game changer,” says Scott Hecker, CowManager specialist, CentralStar Cooperative. “The savings from reduced labor and pharmaceuticals is improving their bottom line, while the gained efficiencies in getting cows pregnant is a major win.”


reproductive Performance

Not only have the Hankes seen a savings in pharmaceutical costs, but their reproductive performance has improved while reducing the labor needed to get cows pregnant. Prior to installing CowManager, 80% of all rebreeds within the lactating herd were the result of timed A.I. (T.A.I). Today, that number is at 40%. 

Natural heats prior to CowManager sat at 16% visual, but now 60% of the cows are bred resulting from CowManager alerts. For the heifer herd, the farm was averaging 42% heat detection rate (HDR) based on visual heat detection and the current detection rate has climbed to 73%. 



Creating Labor Efficiencies

While the Hankes may be spending more time with animals up front, the long-term labor savings and flexibility in labor management contributes to the farm’s bottom line. Less time is spent administering shots to cows and heifers while heat detection is increasing. 

“Fifteen years ago, it was all collars. Then, when they came out with the ear tag system, I really liked that idea,” says Doug Taylor, herd manager, Hanke Farms. “Having a tag in the ear is a lot easier. There are no collars to loosen and pinch fingers and I’m not tied to specific times in the parlor with pedometer systems. If we need to cull a cow, I can just remove the CowManager tag and reuse it for another animal, unlike the bolus systems. There’s no way to recover that bolus when the cow leaves the farm which means lost money. With CowManager, I can set the headlocks and work with animals as my schedule dictates – there’s just so much more flexibility in management with this system.”

Contact your Select Sires representative to talk about CowManager. There are promotions available for new and existing customers, including 0% financing and 25% off the nutrition module. New customers can benefit from three months of CowManager software absolutely free. Learn how you can streamline management efficiencies in your herd today by leveraging CowManager. 

Back to Articles