Through the years the dairy industry has made some dramatic changes. A lot of them are related back to advances in technology. As technology has advanced food production has too. These advancements have allowed us to make more food cheaper and safer! Dairy farming is no different in the technology department and I'm going to share one of my favorite farm toys with you.
I hope you remember my Wordless Wednesday from yesterday because we are going to revisit it. Some cows really do wear necklaces and some of the cows on my farm do!
This farm toy I love to use is called the Heatime System. One of a dairy farmer's major challenge is finding out when a cow is receptive to breeding and when she's getting sick. These collars and the rest of the system are a tool for us to take better care of our cows.
This is the brain for the system. What this does, is it measures the activity of the cows. It keeps track of the amount of time she moves and it also can tell the different kinds of movement. There are distinct differences between walking and running and rubbing her head on something. The sensor sits on the side of the neck and records all of her activity data.
Each time the cows are walking back from the parlor they walk under what is called the reader. The reader takes all of that movement data to a computer.
The computer will evaluate the data and decide if her activity deviates from the normal. The normal is set by evaluating each cow over 7 days and setting an average that she is compared with from then on. If the cow is too far above or below her average she will come up on the watch list.
If she is below her average activity that could mean she is getting sick. One of the most difficult parts of illness detection is that it's hard to catch a cow before she is sick. By time we can tell the symptoms she is already showing symptoms. Since cows are usually in a herd or group, it's a hard thing to do. This tool allows us to see if she's getting sick before she's showing symptoms. If the cow is above her average activity we know when she is receptive to breeding.
I know I'm an Ag Nerd for loving this new technology but I can't help it. It helps me and my family to be better dairy farmers!