Dairymaster Serves the Dairy Industry Worldwide
Published on Tue, 09/15/2020 - 1:43pm
Dairymaster Serves the Dairy Industry Worldwide.
By Heather Smith Thomas.
Dairymaster is an Irish company supplying innovative and cutting edge technology and equipment for dairy farmers around the world. Products include milking equipment, milking parlors, feeding systems, automatic scrapers, heat detection methods, milk cooling tanks, etc. The main focus is to introduce new ideas and technology to dairy farming; Dairymaster’s research and development team provide the industry with the most technologically-advanced, high-performance equipment--to bring optimum efficiency and utmost comfort for both the dairy operator and the cows. This is a family-owned company that manufactures approximately 95% of the equipment they sell.
Skip Reese, Vice President of Dairymaster USA has been in this industry for 30 years and many things have changed during that time. “With emergence of robotic use in the U.S. we learned the advantages of individual feeding on herd health and production,” says Reese. There is enough data now to show the advantages of individually feeding in the parlor and how to use this to make a dairy more profitable.
“When I went to work for Dairymaster, one of the things I saw immediately that made us different was our ability to feed cows individually in the parlor. In Ireland we have a large customer base of grazing dairies, so we‘ve been working on the technology to do this for many years. In the U.S. and Canada, dairymen have been educated to the benefits of individual feeding and it’s becoming another tool to manage their dairies. We can do this on large rotaries, giving us an advantage over our competition,” he says.
The big advantage is being able to feed the right ration (and amount) to each cow. “Traditionally, dairy cows have been fed in groups, so some cows are underfed while others are overfed in terms of their actual milk production. We make a precise diet for each animal, according to her lactation curve. The diet is customized and this leads to more milk production and profits,” he says.
“Balancing the individual cow’s requirement, in each stall, can be done in either a rotary or standard parlor, which usually lowers the dairy’s overall feed cost because they are not overfeeding the cows that are not producing a lot of milk. It also reduces milking time because cows want to come into the stalls faster; it speeds the whole process. As these herds become larger, milking time is key. People want to milk as many cows as possible, and use less labor—which is another advantage to this system,” says Reese.
With this customized feeding system, a dairymen can feed individual cows or use a teaser feed just to get them into the parlor. “Much of the payback is in increased milk production, since each cow is individually fed according to her production and we can reach peak production on that cow,” he explains.
One of their customers, John Vanderstappen—a Pennsylvania dairyman with 300 Jersey cows--recently put in a Swing 16 Dairymaster Rapid Exit Parlor with Feeding and MooMonitor+ Activity and Health System. Vanderstappen says he has seen 3-5 pounds of milk per cow increase with the Dairymaster Feed System. “My feed costs have not changed and the cows are healthier. The parlor loads a lot quicker which has decreased our milking time and lowered our labor costs.”
Correct nutrition also leads to optimum health and a strong immune system. “Having a balanced diet helps a cow maintain her energy level, and maintain proper energy balance before and after she calves. This is very important because this is when she needs to be as healthy as possible,” says Reese.
After calving, having a healthy cow and a good energy balance is crucial, to avoid ketosis, acidosis, etc. Metabolic problems like milk fever (calcium imbalance) or magnesium deficiencies are reduced.
The individual feeding system has really taken off because of the robotic systems. People are realizing the benefits and many dairies want to do it, but don’t want to go to the expense of robots. “We provide them with the ability to have individual feeding and create that custom diet, at less cost than what it would be to put in robots. We are starting to put individual feeding systems in parlors in both new and remodeled facilities.”
The other big advantage of doing it on a parlor is that you can increase cow numbers, whereas with robots you are limited to the cow numbers you can feed. “One of the biggest expenses on any farm is feed. The key to profit for every dairy is to lower the feed costs which many of our customers have been able to do. When you look at the cost versus benefits of feeding systems, these products are very inexpensive in the overall cost of a facility.” These innovations pay for themselves quickly and are low maintenance.
“Many nutritionists who work with dairymen really like our system because it makes their job easier, to balance the diet for certain cows rather than trying to hit a reasonable average for the group. It also gives them a lot of data to work with, when you look what we call our Milk Manager software program, which combines the feeding with the lactation curve and milk production. This gives nutritionists the accurate data they need, to dial it in,” he explains.
Another benefit of the system is that it also reduces labor and stress associated with moving cows around to various groups to be fed according to their stage of pregnancy/lactation. Labor is reduced because now they can keep cows in larger groups and still individually feed them. This also reduces stress on the cows, not having to keep putting them in a new group.
Technology today has helped the industry, and helps individual dairymen. The farmers who are in business have to keep advancing and using the technology that’s available, to remain sustainable. “We are seeing all generations of farmers looking at new ideas that help their business be more profitable and manage their cows’ health. Veterinarians and nutritionist really like this,” says Reese.
“We recently started building a new rotary parlor for a farmer who had been looking at robots; he wanted to milk 300 cows and robots were just too expensive for his budget. We are building a rotary facility for him, with individual feeding. He will be able to add cows as needed, and won’t be limited in numbers like he would be with robots. He will also be able to individually feed, just like he’d do with robots. It will also reduce his labor. With the trouble we’ve had in the dairy industry finding labor in the last 3 to 4 years, this is huge, and we don’t think the labor issue is going to get any easier,” says Reese.
The company has You-tube videos that show the many things they provide, and anyone wanting to learn more about our products can also check the website at www.dairymaster.com