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Using Automation to Benefit New York Dairy Farmers

Dairy cow illnesses cost New York dairy producers millions of dollars each year in diminished milk sales and treatment, labour, and culling expenses. Maintaining a healthy and productive herd, as every dairy farmer knows, requires robust health monitoring practises for accurate and early illness identification. However, owing to labour restrictions, this has proven more challenging for farmers.

The usage of Automated Health Monitoring systems (AHM) might be one approach. AHMs use sensors to monitor cow behaviour and physiology and identify possible health concerns. While farmers are using this technology, there is little independent study showing its worth. NYFVI is supporting a research at Cornell University with Dr. Julio Giordano to investigate their efficacy.

In this study, researchers will evaluate the performance of AHM systems to non-intensive health monitoring methods used on dairy farms. The study will specifically compare AHM systems to dairy farm situations that lack labour, time, or both for effective cow monitoring.

The initiative also aims to close a significant knowledge gap in the dairy sector by teaching farm health-care personnel, extension educators, professionals, and students at SUNY institutions and Cornell University in the use of AHM. Participants will learn how to utilise and maximise the value of AHM tools in hands-on workshops in English and Spanish.

“We are excited to roll out this project aimed at addressing some of the most pressing herd management challenges for commercial dairy farms in NY,” stated Cornell University professor and project leader Julio Giordano. We will increase cow health by using automated health monitoring technology while lowering labour requirements and animal disturbance. We will test and illustrate the benefit of automated monitoring systems for farms who, owing to a lack of time or manpower, struggle to identify cows that need treatments or interventions.

“Our on-farm training programme for cow health-care technicians will help current and future users of technology be more proficient and feel more comfortable with their operation and value for herd management in order to foster adoption and better use of automated monitoring technologies.” Finally, this research will benefit dairy farms by enhancing the health and production of dairy cows and assisting farm staff in more efficiently using technology.”

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