Use of Technology in Dairy Farming - Measure, Manage, MonitorMonday 01 July 2013
This RDPE Skills Framework innovative technology event commenced with John Cameron, Farm Manager at Woodpark Farm giving an overview of the 185 milking cows on site and Rob Smith from the Vet School demonstrating the use of technology and different research projects taking place.
Technology is used on the farm to give independent assessment of farming practices, with "measure, manage and monitor" being the key message.
Rob talked about what is driving the need for technology, explaining that as how yields have increased, conception rates and oestrus detection have dropped. As well as using technology to detect problems, recovery in animals can also be monitored.
Much work is being done at Woodpark to independently validate the technologies available, with Heatime Rumination collars, Ice Robotic pedometers, the iKeenan mixer wagon and Target Solution's Automatic Foot Washers in use on the unit.
The event, held at the end of June, provided participants an opportunity to learn more about different types of technology that can be used on farm to help management.
The iKeenan demonstrated that precision feeding can see an increase in yields through the use of fewer feed ingredients.
Semex presented Calving24, a new calving detection tool that monitors the temperature of cows and uses the changes to predict the onset of calving.
Fabdec Heatime showed changes in rumination and activity to detect heat and health concerns.
A mobility score from Ice Robotics pedometer can be used to identify cows with high or low activity, whilst the activity collected will pick up cows in heat.
Work is being done at Liverpool to validate data collected from Ice Robotics pedometer to create a universal mobility score.
Looking at what is going on inside a cow's rumen with eCow's farmBolus can give early warnings of acidosis, indicating suitability of feeds and help monitor cows through calving through measuring rumen pH and temperature.
The farm also showcased automatic footwashers from Target Solutions and reported a drop in lameness due to hind hooves being cleaned in the parlour.
"Just a quick message to say how much we enjoyed yesterday's technology event, it was great to see how other farms particularly within the educational sector, use technology to their advantage. Both speakers were interesting to listen to and we very much enjoyed the farm walk."
"Just a note to say thank you for a fantastic day. Well organised, informative and enjoyable."
This event was part funded by Defra through the RDPE Skills Framework, with private funding provided by Semex, Keenan and Ice Robotics.