Advances in robotic milking, animal health screening, heat detection, automated feeding and nutrition have eased many labour burdens on the dairy farm.
This progress has earned industry leaders many high profile awards.
In July, 2015, DeLaval was awarded the RABDF Prince Philip Award for the most practical, relevant and best technical exhibit at the Livestock Event 2015, for their Herd Navigator system.
This system generates information regarding reproduction, udder health and feeding.
The results are presented on the farmer’s computer in a clear form that makes it easy to spot problems early in animals which need special attention.
It is used to aid detection of cows in heat, pregnant cows and cows with reproduction disorders or abortions.
It has an important role to play in identifying cows that are developing mastitis, days before clinical signs can be seen.
Through feed intake analysis, it provides early detection of ketosis cases, or imbalance in feed rations.
Recently, Co Fermanagh farmer Marcus Grey became the first farmer on the island of Ireland to install a DeLaval Herd Navigator.
“Systems like Herd Navigator are the tools of the future for farmers“, said Marcus.
“We have invested in DeLaval robotic milking which has greatly reduced the labour time it takes to milk our herd, now we have a tool which can store all the valuable data we require about each individual cow. This brings control and management of our stock to a whole new level, and we are extremely impressed by what it can do.”
Meanwhile, Dairymaster has added yet more awards to their trophy cabinet at their Causeway, Co Kerry headquarters.
The Swiftflo Commander recently won the Agribusiness Use of Technology Award for Dairymaster, following the Innovation Award it won at the National Ploughing Championship.
This device is the new brain of the Dairymaster milking parlour, controlling everything to do with milking, feeding and animal health.
Using the latest touch-pad technology, it allows the dairy farmer to control each milking unit.
It ensures that the farmer, while situated in the milking parlour pit, has in one place all the information necessary to most effectively manage the herd.
Dairymaster CEO Dr Edmond Harty was also named the winner of the Agribusiness Leader Award at the gala event which introduced the Agribusiness Awards, which recognise and celebrate the most innovative organisations and individuals in one of Ireland’s most important indigenous industries, which contributes an estimated €24 billion to the economy and employs over 250,000 directly or indirectly.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Dr Harty said; “This year we have launched a number of disrupter technologies for dairy farmers that are driving down the costs of production, saving the farmer time and money and maintaining the highest standards in animal health. In 2016, Dairymaster will continue to focus on growing international markets and on maintaining a strong pipeline of new technologies.
“Farmers are smart at seeing the big picture.
“Even at a time when global prices for dairy products are soft, farmers know that investing in their farms makes real sense and will help to future proof their farms,” said Dr Harty.
One of their milking equipment rivals, Packo Fullwood, received an Inel D’Or 2015 award for innovation at the SPACE show in France last September, for the Packo Fullwood FarmCan milking parlour cabling system.
This is a ‘plug-and-play’ cabling system which makes parlour installation simpler and much quicker.
It is ideally “scaleable” for the expansion of many dairy herds in Ireland over the coming years.
It allows for easy installation of new devices on existing wiring.
Its simplicity allows the operator to replace or add an element, without circuit board and electrician requirements.
When the jury gave their reasons for the award, they commented, “FarmCan ensures the electrical power supply and communication is simple to install.
“Only one cable is used to connect all the products in the Fullwood range like pulse relays, automatic dispensing system of milking clusters etc.
“It uses the system plug-and-play CAN type existing in the automotive industry.
“It is waterproof, so suitable for milking parlours protecting against moisture and dust.
“It facilitates the installation, but most importantly, it ensures quality electrical connection with high quality electrical signal for electronic devices, such as flow sensors.”
“Power consumption is reduced by 30%.
“The possibility of changing components by the farmer allows rapid and independent troubleshooting.”