Industry Insights: 5 Ways Technology Is Transforming the Dairy Industry
Dairy farming dates back to the early Neolithic era, which means we’ve had hundreds of years to perfect the art for the benefit of farmers and the communities consuming their products. However, it has only been in recent years that the most significant and valuable changes have been made, and it’s primarily thanks to technology.
In the sections below, we take you through the most phenomenal advancements that are currently transforming the dairy industry.
Some of the best lactose-free milk and most exceptional breeding stock come from undertaking DNA testing on herds. Farmers request DNA testing to learn parentage, match calves correctly with their parents, and reduce the risk of inbreeding.
Dairy farmers also request DNA testing when they want to start producing a2 milk for those living with dairy milk sensitivities and intolerances. Cows must only have the a2 type of beta-casein protein rather than the a1 protein to make this kind of milk. Testing tail hairs is the most non-intrusive way to determine a dairy cow’s suitability for an a2 farming operation.
Many farmers rely on bulls and tail paint to get their dairy cows in-calf and kickstart the milking season. However, that’s starting to change with the invention of wearable technology.
Now, some farmers are putting collars on their cows connected to web-based herd management systems to know when cows are in heat and their pregnancy status. Some collars can also be customized to virtually fence and remotely shift cows, making farming less labor and time-intensive.
Robotic Milking Machines
We’ve already come a long way from sitting on stools underneath cows’ udders, manually squeezing milk into buckets. However, we’ve now come even further with the invention of robotic milking machines.
Such machines take care of the whole milking process and gather data so farmers can make informed choices about nutrition for their cows. These machines also measure milk production and identify dry cows or those with health-related issues.
Robotic Health Center
Dairy farmers requiring their cows to receive shots for vaccinations, fertility, and health problems, often need to call in their local vets to administer them. Generally, they don’t have the tools, time, or experience to take care of it themselves.
San Jacinto, California company Pharm Robotics is attempting to take all the hard work out of vaccines and reproductive products for cows with the Sureshot™. This technology is described as the most advanced robotic health center, allowing herds to receive pharmaceuticals without humans administering them. Farmers can then track each cow’s health records in a management system.
The Sureshot™ system administers up to three vaccines and reproduction products through a robotic arm. The robot is fitted with RFID and camera ID technology and an automated gate system.
It’s hard to believe that social media could transform the dairy industry, but it has been a lifeline for many farmers. They can follow the businesses and groups that hold their interest and learn about new products, technology, laws, and rules, all in one place.
Social media also gives isolated farmers a valuable support network that can help them solve problems. For example, American Farm Bureau Federation member Beth Hodge said she once had a problem with her Lely robot in the middle of the night. She was able to find a solution with the help of another farmer on the Lely Facebook group without needing to call in a technician.
Technology has transformed many industries, but there’s no denying its significant impact on dairy. The work involved in the industry is now far less labor-intensive and more streamlined than ever before.