Precision dairy farming technologies: New opportunities, new challenges | Dairy Farming News & Information



Technology is changing our lives in many ways. It impacts how we communicate, collect and store data, access information, and shop to name a few. The dairy industry is witnessing the introduction of new technologies on the marketplace at an ever-increasing rate. Certainly, there are many benefits to technological advances. However, new technologies bring with them a new set of challenges.

Dairy farmers have access to more precision dairy farming technologies than ever before. Bewley (2010) defined precision dairy farming as “the use of technologies to measure physiological, behavioral, and production indicators on individual animals to improve management strategies and farm performance.” Examples of precision dairy farming technologies include: automated milk systems, automated calf feeding systems, automated detection of estrus, rumination monitoring, calving detection, and lameness alerting. It is an exciting time for the industry because these technologies provide a great opportunity to enhance farm management. Technologies may also improve quality of life for farmers while improving cow comfort and health.

During a recent visit with Virginia Tech dairy science faculty and graduate students, Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, associate Extension professor at the University of Kentucky, described what might be expected of an ideal precision dairy technology. The technology would: explain an underlying biological process; result in meaningful action by the farmer; be cost effective; be flexible, robust, and reliable; be simple and solution focused; and provide readily actionable…

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