Article

How Can Big Farms be Family Farms?

July 21, 2015

Dairy farms come in all shapes and sizes, but the nation’s nearly 47,000 dairy farms have a few things in common: 97 percent are family owned, and they all keep their animals’ health and comfort top of mind every day.

This includes SwissLane Farms in Alto, Mich., where Annie Link, a fourth-generation dairy farmer, milks 2,000 cows with her family. How is that possible?

One way is through technology.

A few years ago the family invested in robotic milkers, which automatically milk cows. When the cow walks in to the robotic milker stall, the computer scans her ear tag and once it identifies her, knows exactly where to put on the milkers. Thanks to the robots, cows can get milked whenever they want, helping to keep them comfortable.

“Cows are very habitual and they thrive when they can get into a routine,” Link said.

Plus, Link and her family can get information on their cows wherever they are and whenever they need it to help make decisions.

“We have several different apps that we can use to track these cows to make sure that they’re getting individualized care,” she said. “Thanks to the robots, we have 52 different reports that we can pull up on each individual cow.”

Farmers are always improving their operations and innovations like the robotic milker and apps allow farmers to provide individual cow care.

“There’s just so many ways that we can use technology to really benefit us and benefit the cows,” she said.

Learn more at The Udder Truth.

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