Dairy farmers know extra about dairy cows at the moment than generations earlier than them. Why? The adoption of expertise on farms is a main purpose.
Most farmers use knowledge from progressive applied sciences to know the biology behind their dairy herds to make higher choices and develop into extra environment friendly.
“With knowledge, we’re studying that our cows are altering over time and are bettering their manufacturing, so farmers cannot use knowledge from 10 years in the past to make choices at the moment as a result of we had completely different animals again then together with completely different applied sciences and vitamin,” says Veridiana Daley, Purina Mills senior researcher of grownup dairy cows.
In response to a current Affiliation of Tools Producers report, advancing progressive expertise with dairy cow genetics and automatic administration techniques on farms are probably the most important contributing elements in lowering the dairy business’s carbon footprint, equal to taking 4 million automobiles off the street.
The report additionally discovered that at the moment’s dairy herd produces 4 instances as a lot as the worldwide common, with 16 million fewer cows. As well as, farmers’ adoption of expertise has saved sufficient water to provide New York Metropolis for 2 years.
“Dairy farming may be complicated. Farmers are beneath a number of stress, time crunches, and tight revenue margins. The purpose of utilizing expertise is to assist farmers make higher choices, discover the bottlenecks of their operation, and be extra worthwhile on the finish of the day,” says Alex Tebbe, a dairy technical specialist with Purina.
The creation of a high-grade dairy cow
Genomic testing and genetic choice for fascinating traits comparable to milk yield have helped farmers create extra productive dairy cows.
Most dairies are testing heifer calves to see which of them will genetically make appropriate replacements of their herd. The checks present the genetic potential of milk manufacturing, says David Erf, senior veterinarian of dairy technical providers with Zoetis.
“Once we genomic take a look at calves, it may well predict their future,” says Erf. “The purpose is to search out which animals might be extra worthwhile for dairies.”
Genetic testing and choice permit farmers to scale back the variety of cows that aren’t cost-effective.
“Testing permits us to genetically discover extra of these trouble-free cows which might be good at manufacturing, good at replica, and in good well being as a result of a cow that may excel in these three areas, she’s going to be a worthwhile cow for any farm,” Erf says.
Farmers have extra environment friendly use of time and assets
At this time, probably the most in depth use of expertise on dairy farms is a robotic milking system, which has revolutionized the milking parlor.
A robotic milking system can deliver extra flexibility to dairy farmers and permit them to deal with different duties, comparable to crop work, as a result of they’re not tied to a cow, says Suzanne Meck, chief operations officer of AMS Galaxy USA, a supplier of precision dairy farming tools.
In a robotic milking system, a sensor detects the cows current and mechanically cleans the cows’ teats earlier than and after attaching the milker. As well as, the system will acquire knowledge from a cow’s collar – which is very like a Fitbit gadget for people — to trace her milking time, kilos of milk produced, and rumination.
“Cows can milk themselves across the clock. So perhaps you do not have to fret about getting up on the daybreak the subsequent morning to start out chores,” says Meck.
Normally, a robotic or automated milking system may imply that cows spend extra time within the barn. In response to Meck, that may make it difficult for farmers to get into barns to scrub out pens and supply contemporary bedding.
Nevertheless, there are automated cleansing techniques comparable to a flush system, scrapers, and robotic manure collectors that drag via the barn and take manure to a deposit space, says Meck.
“Automated tools does a very good job as a result of it is operating across the clock,” she provides.
Most manure administration techniques even have water-saving processes and water use monitoring options to assist farmers make higher choices with water assets.
Farms are additionally updating to automated bedding techniques, which assist cut back bedding waste by placing out small qualities all through the day. As well as, automated bedding improves cow well being and luxury, says Meck.
“Any such automation permits the farmer to mattress their cows three to 4 instances a day, versus a couple of times per week the handbook manner,” provides Meck. “The cows additionally like having that contemporary bedding often.”
Utilizing knowledge from expertise to higher administration choices
At this time, one cow can create greater than 2 billion knowledge factors over her lifetime. In response to Daley, most dairy farms are gathering bodily knowledge factors from numerous software program or monitoring applied sciences that acquire greater than 100 forms of info.
Farms at a extra basic stage with herds that solely do Dairy Herd Enchancment (DHI) checks as soon as a month are nonetheless gathering 5 to 10 knowledge factors on their cows month-to-month, provides Tebbe.
Nevertheless, measuring and evaluating knowledge to search out bottlenecks on a farm may be troublesome when there is no such thing as a straightforward solution to combine the information from the varied applied sciences on a farm. Tebbe says that is the place Addie, a Purina dairy document evaluation program, is available in. It collects knowledge from all of the administration software program expertise getting used on the farm and creates a report with actionable insights producers can use to extend financial potential.
“Farms which have embraced expertise can have 4 or six completely different software program techniques gathering all their knowledge. In the way in which Purina has constructed Addie, the system integrates knowledge from these software program techniques, in an easy-to perceive kind, permitting us begin to perceive the entire image of the farm,” says Tebbe.
“Addie is a device or expertise that’s all in regards to the cows,” provides Daley.
In utilizing the collected knowledge, farmers search for methods to be extra environment friendly with their assets, comparable to creating extra milk manufacturing with much less feed or detecting sickness earlier in cows earlier than it impacts their well-being.
“Farmers are curious people. They all the time need to know extra, and so they ask nice questions, so we are able to take their questions and remodel their knowledge to get the solutions they should succeed,” provides Tebbe.
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