‘Precision Dairy Farming technologies may change the way dairy herds are managed’ was the conclusion made by Dr Jeffrey Bewley (University of Kentucky) when speaking recently at the 8th Nordic Feed Science Conference. Dr Bewley further discussed the substantial potential of these technologies, highlighting that they provide ‘tremendous opportunities for improvements in individual animal management’.
But what is Precision Dairy Farming? In short, it is the use of technology to measure a variety of indicators in each individual, allowing more informed management strategies. A range of indicators from physiological to behavioural to production can be measured, but all focus on improving each animals potential. Some of the advantages can be increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved animal health and welfare. However, currently the initial cost of these technologies is high preventing their widespread use.
The development of Precision Dairy Farming technologies which are both innovative and affordable is something we are passionate about. The eCow bolus has revolutionised the detection of SARA, and is now a vital tool for both farmers and vets to improve herd health. Following this success we are now developing Milkalyser; the aim is to aid the detection of Oestrus through the inline measurement of milk progesterone. This technology will provide heat detection data to the farmer to improve the timing of insemination and increase the chance of conception.
“Precision Dairy Farming technologies provide tremendous opportunities for improvements in animal management”
With the current uncertainty facing UK it is important that farmers have access to technologies which can improve their production efficiency and animal health. This was emphasised last week at the IDF World Dairy Summit by EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan who stated the need for ‘farmers to innovate if they want to succeed with profitable businesses’. DEFRA have also recognised the importance of developing new technologies by setting aside a £14 million fund for dairy industry innovation.
At eCow and Milkalyser we are continuing to drive the development of both effective and affordable Precision Dairy Farming technologies. Please contact us here for more information about the eCow bolus, and visit the Milkalyser website for more news about this development. Dr Jeffrey Bewley’s full paper on the potential of precision dairy tools is available here.