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Technology is revolutionizing dairy farming

By Darren Turley, TAD executive director

The new way to dairy is here with changes to the way cows will be milked in the future. The state’s first barn with stationary milking robots is up and running at T&K Dairy east of Snyder. All Texas dairy farmers will get to see exactly how this automated dairy works at the 2019 Southwest Dairy Day, to be held at T&K dairy on Nov. 7. The newly retrofitted dairy, home to 1,100 cows, is owned by Will and Lauren Collier. We appreciate them opening up their farm to host the event.

The dairy industry in no stranger to technology and change. I remember the western-style system of dairying with feed wagons. Then commodity feeding moved across the country, followed by parallel and then rotary parlors. Today, the labor shortage facing dairy farmers plus improved technology has heightened the interest in adopting the newest automatic milking technologies.

At T&K, robot stalls allow a large amount of data to be collected on each animal while being milked. This means animals can receive treatment that prevents disease, instead reactive treatment after an illness has developed. Also, that milk can be examined and discarded by a robot instead of a person, which takes mastitis treatment decisions to a new level.

It’s not all about new equipment. Across agriculture, advances in sex semen and genomics are making replacement heifers much more productive and healthier than their herd mates. Also, the ability to balance the amino acid level of a feed ration will push gains and production even higher.

Southwest Dairy Day is the opportunity to come together with other dairy farmers and industry representatives and see the latest technologies that can be adopted and used on the farm. It’s also a family friendly day and an opportunity for the community to learn more about dairy farming and our industry – come share your story. You can learn more about Southwest Dairy Day elsewhere in our October newsletter or here.

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