Using Technology for Feeding Time on a Dairy Farm

Feed is a large investment that farms make for their cows. It’s often a mixture of many different products from feed commodities to hay and grain. While many farms can grow and harvest their feed like alfalfa and grains, some must purchase all of it. But no matter what, farms must track all their feed supplies to prevent missed feeding, which can impact overall milk production. In the following sections are some ways that farmers can keep an updated record of how much feed is available on the farm.

Bringing Feed Supplements on the Farm

Feed supplements and base feed ingredients are always trucked to the farm. Whether it’s a tractor-trailer load or a dump truck, all these visits need to be recorded. Having that information available not only helps with what’s in the bunk to feed but also if there’s a discrepancy in the bill or amount delivered. A tool like Scalelync that automatically records scale weights can cut down on paper records, and since it is digital, farmers can access it from anywhere to track what came into the bunk area. Scalelync is a component of Feedlync, a feeding management software, which farms can access from an app or desktop to see information related to feed such as the ration delivered to cows, and how much feed was brought on to the farm during the recent harvest season.

Monitoring the Feed Bunk Area

Once the feed is in the bunk or silo, it’s not going to stay there forever. Eventually, it needs to be moved to the barn to be fed to the cows. This is another step in the journey where errors can occur that need to be noted or monitored. Many farms have started using cameras not only for employees’ safety, but to track where mixer wagons are, and if a truck puts a delivery in the right bunk area. Reviewing footage can help correct errors or highlight places where improvements or changes need to happen.

To help with mixing the right ration, Feedlync can be adjusted in real-time to tell an employee what needs to be added to a feeding. Within the software, outside consultants like a nutritionist can access the feed mix to adjust what’s available and what nutritional content is needed for the cows. These changes will help cows continue to produce steady milk levels.

A final tool for the bunk and silo area is Silolync, another component of Feedlync. To save time and improve efficiency, Silolync is connected to the augers on grain and commodity bins, and an employee can turn it on and off from the truck or tractor cab. This new tool can help prevent potential run-over of an ingredient.

Feed management on a farm is important for overall animal care and cost savings. With new technologies available, a dairy farm can execute new protocols to ensure each feeding is delivered on time and contains the right mixture of ingredients. These can also help track and trace where potential problems are happening so they can be resolved.

For more information, contact Dairy One’s Integrated Farming Solutions team by emailing [email protected].