DATA & TECHNOLOGY
Dairy farms are becoming increasingly tech savvy. Technology is being used in our feed centers, in our barns, and in our parlors. As a nutritionist, the goal is to leverage the full capacity of these tools and use them to aid in our nutrition and management decisions.
There are several software tools available to aid in the feeding, tracking, and control of the feed center on a dairy. The industry does a great job using these tools to help in the process of mixing and delivering feed. Beyond this, there is room for growth in how we use feed software. First, we must be tracking feed inventory, feed usage, and weighbacks. Doing this helps generate accurate dry matter intakes which is used to optimize feed usage and ration balancing. Second, we need to track the efficiency of mixing and operation of the feed center. The feed center has, in many cases, millions of dollars worth of feed passing through it on a yearly basis. To ensure we are maximizing the efficiency of the nutrition program, we need to track the true costs associated with its implementation.
Activity and Rumination Software
Activity and rumination softwares are becoming more common on dairies in the midwest. They are often used to monitor cow health and as tools in reproduction programs. Yet, there are functions within the software which can be used in our nutrition programs. We can track and instantly gauge how cows respond to nutrition changes and alert the team to potential issues. We can also monitor the transition cows as they are moved from pen to pen and ration to ration.
With technology comes data. All this data can, at times, be overwhelming. To truly capture the full value of our data and technology, we must use it to make some sort of management or financial decision. Currently, a lot of the data collected on dairies is hidden within software and is not readily available to be used in decision making processes. As a consultant, we help gather, analyze, and present data in a clear, concise, and useful manner. We do this to help guide decisions and emphasize opportunities on dairies.