A lens into farm management
Chase Cashell – Dairy Focus Consultant
Chris Dschaak, PhD – Dairy Sales Tech Specialist
Kristen Burkhardt – Animal Nutrition Marketing Intern
Each day we hear about new, progressive, and big pieces of technology that aim to helps farm reach their goals. But, what about the simpler pieces of technology out there? One, in particular, is cameras.
Barn cameras, something so straightforward, can be so useful in many areas on the farm. Are you wondering if your employees are following protocols? Is feed being delivered when you think it is? Are employees following the suggested milking routine?
You might spend a lot of time training employees on certain protocols but making sure they are executing those protocols may be more important.
Chase Cashell, Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant, uses time-lapse cameras on a dairy that recently experienced a long bout of low milk production. He set cameras up to monitor feed push-up and delivery and found opportunities for better feed management.
“When I put up the time-lapse cameras, I saw that push-ups were very vague. With this farm, we went from getting 4 push-ups a day to 12 consistently every day,” says Chase.
Chris Dschaak PhD, Dairy Sales Tech Specialist, mentions cameras are essential to have on a dairy farm.
“The camera doesn’t lie. It is easy to create a perception of how things are going on your farm, but cameras might reveal opportunities that have been occurring over time. They are almost like extra insurance. You can train people, but over time it is easy to stray away from a protocol.” Chris points out, “Cameras are especially essential to the Idaho market where I live. The average herd is around 1,500 cows. Managing at this scale involves a ton of moving parts, so to be able to rely on technologies is very helpful and critical.”
With all the information and opportunities cameras present, they are a wise investment for any operation.
Potential areas of use:
- Feed push-up
- Free stalls
- Milking parlor
- Feed mixing and commodity sheds
Paying closer attention to how often feed is pushed up, lock-up times, how cows behave at the feed bunk, how many cows are standing during the day, when they go to the parlor, and the list goes on and on. We can’t be everywhere at once, but cameras are that simple piece of technology that can help connect the dots and provide extra insight for your herd to thrive.