Precision dairy farming - what the future brings
Big data is coming to your farm. Sooner or later. Today, there is a vast array of precision dairy farming solutions available with varying degrees of quality and precision. The digital revolution is taking root in dairy farming also. So, what does the future hold?
“In the future, we will see companies like DeLaval integrate more data from various different systems into one single piece of software. We do this today with Herd Navigator, for instance. We’re creating a situation where the farmer doesn’t have to do the analysis and interpretation but can get solid recommendations to assist her or him with running their farm,” says Charlotte Hallén Sandgren, Dairy Development Director at DeLaval.
“The second thing we will see is a clearer picture for farmers as to the cost versus return on every investment,” says Hallén Sandgren.
‘We’ll also see that every technology becomes increasingly robust. Some systems on the market today are not so robust so you have to watch out what supplier you choose because you can’t have a system breaking down and still giving you information which then turns out to be false. That could be detrimental for the entire farm. All suppliers are likely to improve the robustness of their solutions as time goes on.
One area where Hallén Sandgren believes significant progress can be made is feed consumption as feed efficiency is key to a profitable production. “We still don’t know what every cow is eating and how much” says Hallén Sandgren.
“From feed stations, we can get a lot of information and if we can tie that into information from regular body condition scoring as well as detection of the beta hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) then we can really make progress here. You can get this from our DeLaval BCS and DeLaval Herd Navigator™ today for example (detect the BHBA molecule) but if we can combine all of that information, then we get a very good picture as to the total feed intake from every individual cow and this can lead to significant improvements in detecting cows that need attention but also providing every cow the right feed at the right time.”
Precision dairy farming is still something of a playground for researchers and scientists. The challenge for suppliers to farms will be to find a solution that does the analysis for the farmer, collates the information and gives them the right recommendations at the right time. There are already systems offering this kind of advice, but the likelihood is that they will make use of additional information and become better at giving the farmer the right advice.