Allflex New Zealand is expanding its support and onfarm training teams to meet expected growth following the mid-year merger with Livestock Improvement Corporation Automation (LICA).

The merger followed the acquisition of LICA by Allflex’s parent company, MSD Animal Health.

Allflex was acquired by MSD Animal Health in 2019 and had already begun building its own animal monitoring and management business, primarily in the dairy sector, with cow collars, pulsators, cup removers, milk meters, auto-drafting and weighing kits.

But the more than 2500 customers using LICA’s Protrack in-shed systems provides a massive boost to business for Allflex. Protrack systems integrate directly with Allflex’s monitoring technologies.

Allflex general manager Jared Briggs says there are 70 staff already supporting the company’s onfarm identification and monitoring clients in New Zealand, and another 40 working on product development globally.

“When you add in our local sales teams across our key portfolios of monitoring, animal health and identification on top of that, it’s clear that we mean business when we say we’re here to help,” Briggs says.

LICA’s team of engineers, developers, field and support staff have already spent time together with the Allflex teams since the acquisition.

“We do have NZ’s largest training and technical support team. We’re recruiting now, and what’s been exciting is that we can take staff on so we’re front-footing growth so we can always meet our customers’ expectations.”

The immediate goal is to make the customer service experience better for farmers and the farm.

“Pulling together the best technology, support, advice, and service from both teams to build one specialist farm intelligence provider is our aim,” he says.

Existing Protrack customers have been assured their technologies will continue to integrate directly with the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) MINDA animal management software package.

Allflex is also committed to supporting existing in-shed installations, regardless of cow collar brand, for their working life and says pricing is unchanged for Protrack software, products and servicing.

Briggs says the need for farmers to upgrade to the latest generation of Protrack software remains. Migrations from the first generation products (Vector and Vantage) will continue through to June 2022.

Allflex is also committed to further development of products and packages, Briggs says.

Fresh to the Protrack offering is an exit count indicator on the milking overview panel for rotary ID users and available now is a group colour column, again for rotary ID users. A heat correction button and a feature to link unknown cows are also expected soon.

“We are taking on all the upgrade work that LIC had previously promised including any connections to MINDA Live and we will be making other improvements where we can on the journey.”

Briggs says Allflex will continue to work closely with LIC to improve the customer experience across its range of products.

“Our agreement with LIC ensures the ongoing flow of data between MINDA, Protrack and our monitoring solutions,” he says.

Briggs says the company has already provided a complete package for several newly built sheds, but adding components over time is a popular option for many dairy farmers.

“They can buy an auto-drafting gate, then next year buy our collars, then milk sensors and then automatic cup removers. It’s a modular solution that can be upgraded depending on the need and they can do it over time, but know it will all talk to each other,” he says.

A push into new markets is also in the future plan for the merged businesses.

“This is about building a system here, proving it here and then taking it to the rest of the world.”

He is confident that with further

research and development, combined

with the network strengths of a global company the size of MSD Animal Health, the new entity can become a global player in the future.