Dairy Parlour Tech: The Gadgets We Want in Our Dream Dairy
Building a new dairy? Here’s a quick roundup of innovative tech features in milk parlours
The dairy industry certainly has come a long way since the days of milking cows by hand. These days an economically successful unit is about 700 – 1000 cows in-milk. Milking these ladies twice a day and looking after their every need becomes a rather complicated task. Luckily, technology is here to lend a helping hand, and in recent years there have been many exciting developments for dairy farmers. The parlour tech featured below may not be financially viable for South African farmers at present but gives some insight into what we might see in our dairies in the future.
AUTOMATED ROTARY MILKING
For larger pasture-based farms, rotary dairies have been all the rage over the last 20 years, while the hype around robotic milking has been largely earmarked for dairies where cows are housed permanently. With the recent addition of robotic milking technology to rotary dairies, farmers who believe in #grasstomilk have something to be excited about.
Aimed at herds of 500+, this automated rotary comes complete with auto stimulation, cleaning, fore-stripping, milking and dipping in the robotic teat cup (“all in-liner”).
Want to milk around the clock? This AMR, aimed at smaller herds (24 bails), gives you the freedom to choose to milk in batches or 24/7.
IN-LINE MILK ANALYSIS
In-line milk analysis allows farmers to analyse the quality of their milk and the health of individual cows in close to real-time, making it much easier to identify sick cows, cows in heat or dietary issues.
This in-line sensor fits into the milking line of existing equipment, making it a viable option for both state-of-the-art and more traditional parlour systems. It uses sensor technology, computer vision and, deep-learning algorithms to measure critical indicators of dairy quality from every cow at every milking. The data is available within minutes, making it possible to ensure milk quality and rapidly diagnose dairy diseases.
What SomaDetect Measures:
DeLaval Herd Navigator
The Delaval Herd Navigator works with Delaval’s VMS milking robot and their dairy parlours. It takes the shape of a big box that takes milk samples from selected cows on selected days and provides reports on the cows’ health. Herd Navigator allows for early detection of mastitis, ketosis, heat, reproduction disorders, metabolic disorders and assists with feed efficiency management. It also recommends what action you should take for each cow.
What DeLaval Herd Navigator Measures:
AfiLab Milk Analyzer
The AfiLab is an optical in-line milk analyser, measuring in real-time. It can be used to detect ketosis, ruminal acidosis, low-fat syndrome, mastitis, negative energy balance and, indigestion. It allows farmers to make important decisions regarding each cow and assists with feed management. It also detects blood above a pre-set threshold and allows AfiMilk to stop milking to protect bulk milk from contamination. The AfiLab works with AfiMilk MPC (Milking Point Controller), an advanced milk meter that measures yield and maintains a comfortable milking experience for each cow with controlled pulsation, stimulation and accurate cluster removal.
What AfiLab Milk Analyzer Measures:
BODY CONDITION SCORE CAMERAS
Regular, accurate body condition scoring helps you optimise feeding. With the latest 3D camera technology farmers can use daily scores of dairy cows to ensure cows have adequate body fat reserves and can improve milk production, reproductive efficiency and, cow longevity.
DeLaval Body Condition Score Camera utilises daily, automatic scoring of your cows to determine individual feed rations for each cow in your parlour. By using this system dairy cows can be fed to maintain an optimum BCS and to prioritise milk production over fat production.
AUTO TEAT SPRAY SYSTEM
Udder health is vital in running a successful dairy. The success of teat dips depends greatly on the accurateness and method of application. An automated system achieves consistent results without stressing out your cows.
SmartSPRAY by Waikato
This auto teat spray comes in the form of a shell mounted on the floor of the rotary table, positioned under the cow’s udder. The shell forces the cow to stand in an optimal position to effectively apply teat dips.
DeLaval Teat Spray Robot (TSR)
This robot automates the task of manual teat spraying and is suitable for new and existing rotary installations. The robot sees each teat and sprays accordingly, saving on the amount of product used.
COW CROWD GATES/USHER GATES
Automatic cow crowd gates such as the GEA CowMander ensure that cows quickly enter the milking stall and also reduce personnel requirements down to a minimum. This simplifies your work and, at the same time, increases the throughput – for higher yields with less effort.
Controlling the animals on your rotary platform has never been easier. Waikato BailMate rams work to lower and raise bail gate straps when the cup removers are activated. If cups are kicked off or an alarm occurs, the controller leaves the bail gate down so the cow is presented back to the operator for inspection.
Cows can these days easily be sorted by using automatic sorting gates. To truly make the best of this and sort out health and reproduction problems on the spot use smart sensors on your cows to detect animals that need attention.
Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant by Ida
This necklace sensor monitors behaviours such as eating, ruminating, drinking, standing, laying and walking. The data gathered is used to identify patterns in a cow’s behaviour and provide the farmer with actionable insights, alerting them when the cow may have a disease, when they are in estrus or when they are giving birth.
Halter’s necklace sensor automatically moves herds or individual cows around your farm, keeps track of their location and allows you to set exact square meterage of pasture per cow so that you can keep track of how much each cow is eating. Halter monitors for heat, lameness and calving to help you manage the wellbeing of each cow.
AfiMilk Silent Herdsman Rumination System
AfiMilk’s Silent Herdsman monitors heat and health to a very high accuracy using an advanced neck collar. It transmits the data collected to your device so that you can monitor cows in real-time and pick up fertilization times and health issues early using the mySilent Herdsman Health Alert Service. You can use this service to set thresholds for eating and ruminating. When eating or ruminating declines for an individual cow, a health alert is received, and the farmer can take action.
NOTE: The products listed here do not represent all products in these categories and some of these solutions have been available in other countries for many years.