Interview with Lior Yaron, Director Global Customer Project Support at DeLaval International AB
During World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI, The Bullvine sat down with Lior Yaron of DeLaval International to get a better understanding of how technology and robotics are changing the way we produce milk around the world. Interview published with permission from The Bullvine, www.thebullvine.com
Watch the full video below.
My name is Lior Yaron. I am from DeLaval International based in Tumba, Sweden.
How is dairy production different around the world?
There is no farm size that fits all. You know you need to adjust to the local conditions and copy paste will not work. Like in India – if you have 30 cows and buffalos you’re really big. However if you go to the US, North America or Mexico, of course the numbers are much larger in terms of cows. And then you need to plan the logistics around it. To make the business sustainable you need to really adjust to the local climate and conditions, securing all the things that are running on the farm on a daily basis. And never forget the cow itself, because everything coming out of the cow will pay back your investments. So it is a complicated task with multifactorial business that you need to understand –the feeding, the milking, the animal welfare part – by combining all those thing into one platform. What we are trying to do everywhere around the world is to combine all the knowledge – scientifically proven knowledge and our experience in the group – to bring to the customer the best, or maybe the optimal solution to his or her needs. And that is what we are trying to do.
What are some of the biggest challenges producers are facing?
That is an excellent question because one of many issues is the environment, of course – manure handling, effluent management. We are stepping deep into that because as we know cows are producing a lot of manure – about 50 liters per day – and not always the same amount of milk, unfortunately, maybe less. So by planning and designing the right setup of your operation – dealing with that is number one. Number two I would say would be expansion – we know that we will have fewer farmers in the future, but larger units. It has happened in Europe, and now with the end of the quarter it is happening all around the world – less farmers but bigger units – and then you need to plan for expansion. If you don’t do it in phase A, when you reach that phase sometimes we see a lot of challenges of how you grow up your business in a sustainable way, and we’ve seen it. Last but not least I would say the resources – water and food for cows. The growing population and competition over land that will also be a challenge that we will face. We are already seeing it in China for instance, where large farms are lacking water, drinking water for the cows and so on and so forth. Those things, in my book at least, are the top three challenges.
Can robotics help these larger herds?
Robotics is not only for small anymore and the main drive for that is the lack of people willing to milk cows 24/7 or 22/7. We already have in Russia and New Zeeland a couple of mega farms with 24 or 33 – robots working on one side with great success. But also here the key to success is to plan it correctly and stick to the rules – every system has different rules and we have a lot of experience with that, and we need to stick to those rules in the planning, the design and also the implementation phase to secure the cow traffic and so on and so forth. However, with saying that, we still need the human being factor behind the robots to secure that we analyze the information that is coming from the software and transfer it into action. We need less people but we still need the farm manager and the human beings to be there to run the project, to run the farm on a daily basis and take the right decisions.
How can robotics help with improving cattle sense?
We know the time budget of a cow on 24 hours daily, we need to secure that she is resting enough and eating and drinking enough. By using our robotic systems we can monitor the cow's time budget, we can monitor her milk production and her health. Just behind me we have a new smart solution, which is the Body Conditions Scoring Camera that is monitoring her body condition score, reflecting her ration, if she is in a positive energy balance or in a negative energy balance according to days in milk. What is nice in our system is that we have fully integrated solution – so it is one platform, one software, it is the DelPro in this case, running all your farm operations – the milking, the feeding and the animal health. So you have a one-stop-shop that can support you in the service but also on the information and knowledge. In that solution we can secure that if you again analyze the reports in the right way you can actually upgrade your performance dramatically.
What makes DeLaval unique?
We are the global leader right now on the market and we are going to stay there for the future that we can see. We pay a lot of attention to the R&I – research and innovation. A lot of our budget goes in that direction to come to the market with the right solution, to the right customer. And as I said in India it is a totally different solution then in the U.S. but we have the solutions to any farm and any farmer. And on top of that the services that we have, not only the machinery fixing part but also the knowledge part and knowledge transfer that we are sharing with our customers globally – we have the global experience of doing that – and adjusting it to the local needs. I think that we are very unique in that and we are really trying to make a win-win situation between the customer and us and so far so good.
What new products do you offer?
We have a few new initiatives; one of them is the Body Condition Scoring Camera BCS as I said before. Be have a Teat Spray Robot here in the booth, also showing that we can eliminate the human factor out of very important part of the work – the pre-dipping and post-dipping in the milking process. Right now it is on rotaries only but we are of course working on future development of that. And the cost effectiveness on that is really something that is proven. On top of those things we have the Herd Navigator System, which is a true reflection of what is going on in the cow's body from the metabolite perspective – we check kettle bodies for energy balance, we check progesterone for reproduction and so on and so forth. In the last few years we really came with top innovative solutions that fits exactly in the critical points in the cows life, trying to secure her performance.
We thank The Bullvine for permission to publish the interview on our website.