Connecting Your Cows and People

Published on Thu, 05/17/2018 - 12:01pm

 Connecting Your Cows and People

 By Molly Gildea, Dairy One

As the average herd size in the U.S. continues to increase, so too does the need for efficiency and the presence of technology on farms. From crop yield monitors to heat detection systems to employee time clocks, there always seems to be a new system that may provide aid for farm management challenges.

Among these technology platforms are networking and camera systems. These systems can bring value to your farm in multiple forms. We traditionally associate cameras with providing additional security and monitoring of animal handling. They can be found in places such as the milk house, truck pad, basement parlor, holding and sort pens, crossover alley, and calf and calving pens. Cameras give you eyes in the places where you can’t be, allowing you to monitor your animals, your employees, and the security of your farm. However, the ability to keep an eye on your farm is not the only value we see cameras bringing to farms.
Cameras can also be used as a tool to review employee work and procedures. Footage from cameras allows you to not just explain to an employee how work should be done, but can provide a visual teaching aide. They can be used to point out to employees where they can improve especially in places like the milking parlor. They can also provide an opportunity to point out the things that employees are doing well. Studies have shown, and farmer testimonials back it up, that employees who feel acknowledged, understand the importance of a procedure, and see the value they bring to the farm perform better in their jobs.
Wired and wireless network systems are another tool that can bring immeasurable value to your farm. Networks keep your farm connected, allowing you to have access to your camera systems wherever you are. The sharing of cow data, records, and procedures throughout your farm’s management systems and devices is also made possible by these networks. Additionally, these systems can increase the communication ability on your farm, making things easier for your employees and increasing overall farm efficiency.

Some of you may be thinking about the camera systems or networks that you already have installed on your farms, and the challenges they have caused you. All too often camera systems or networks fail and leave a sour taste for technology in peoples’ mouths. The reason many of these systems do not function as promised is they were not properly installed. Technology systems like cameras and networks, require pathways. As more systems are added to a farm these pathways become crowded and jumbled, like the interstate at rush hour, and cause interference in communication.
Technology has allowed farms to bring their operations to the next level. Tools like camera systems and networks can increase security, efficiency, communication, and connection. The key to making sure these systems bring you value instead of headache is making sure they are properly installed. An installation team that understands your needs, plans for the expansion and possible addition of systems, and is familiar with the farm environment is crucial to the success of any on-farm system.
Dairy One helps build and manage information systems for many farms across the country. Networking, computers, camera systems, backup devices, and system integration are just a few of the services that we deliver. If you have technology at your farm that you wish worked better, or if you are considering purchasing new technology, we can help. Call Dairy One at 800-344-2697 or email