Digitalization in dairy cows
The demand for milk is gradually increasing and producers need to respond to the challenge of producing more and more milk in rural areas as more and more people move to urban areas. Increasing and optimising productivity is key to the survival of companies.
The principal driving force for increasing production efficiency is technology. As stated by Pierre Nanterme (CEO of Accenture): “Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000”.
The top 10 favourite technologies for dairy cattle producers are:
Increasing numbers of farms are opting for robot milking machines, even though they have their drawbacks, such as the fact that the animals have to adapt to them and their high initial cost. They are a solution for reducing labour on farms, since they can take care of the entire milking routine, feed, and help with the handling of the animals (separation of animals).
Robot milking machines are an example of a technological tool which, when managed well, facilitates and optimises work in rural areas. It is a case of applying technology to facilitate farm work, helping to make tactical decisions thanks to its indicators and, in turn, generating a huge amount of data.
One major limitation today is that most of that enormous mass of data being produced with robot milking machines and sensors (SF – Smart Farming) is not being analysed to make strategic decisions. Accordingly, many producers are unable to see the enormous usefulness of the data. Projects such as 4D4F (Data Driven Dairy Decision for Farmers) are aimed at filling that gap between research and practice.
Analysing all these data from different farms allows us to detect complex interactions between variables and to obtain new insights4. HIPRASTATS is a HIPRA service that extracts useful information from data generated on farms in order to help producers and veterinarians make decisions that are conducive to the optimisation of production.
- Rutten CJ, Velthuis AGJ, Steenevenld W and Hogeveen H 2013. Invited reviews: Sensors to support health management on dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 96, 1928-1952
- Lokhorst C., de Mol R.M. and Kamphuis C. 2018. Invited review: Big data in precision dairy farming.