By Annie A-W
Over a month ago, the boss put a copy of an article from Hoard’s Dairyman in our pay envelopes – and
I just got around to reading beyond the headline. The headline was “Is your state a friend or foe to
agriculture?” The details include that South Dakota is the friendliest state, to agriculture in general, and
at Number 49 on the list was New York – the largest dairy state in America.
WISCONSIN – our state – is ranked as “the friendliest dairy state” by the first-ever Agribusiness
Friendliness Index, created with thirty-eight variables by two professors at Colorado State University,
Greg Perry and James Pritchett. Some of the variables include tax policy, government regulation and
oversight, and the overall business climate of the state.
The 2014 “Review of Wisconsin’s Dairy Industry” reports that this year there are 10,860 farms
registered or recognized as “dairy farms” that are raising, milking, husbanding, selling, buying, and
culling 1,271,000 cows! There just 134 cheese plants, 13 butter plants, and 12 yoghurt plants in the
state (we have two on-the-farm processing plants for sale at dairytrainclassifieds). You can read the
entire 12-page review at http://www.wmmb.com/assets/images/pdf/WisconsinDairyData.pdf .
That same Hoard’s Dairyman page included a feature-box about Canada. Did you know…. that two out
of three Canadians are NOT getting their daily requirements for milk? As proof, the short article reports
that milk sales have fallen two percent (by volume) in the last year! So, what should they do about that?
The Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) hired registered dieticians, who created an app to help individuals
monitor their daily dairy input – and the DFC started a Get Enough campaign that includes a donation
of $1.00 (Canadian) for every use of the app, to be directed to either the Heart & Stroke Foundation, a
group called Osteoporosis Canada, or the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Now, that’s using
technology in the dairy industry!
In June, the boss gave us all a copy of the an article from Dairy Herd Management headlined “German
Farm will install 44 milking robots for 2,500 cows.” Using technology designed by Lely (the Lely
Astronaut model), the Saxony farm will become over the next year the largest company in the world
using robotic milker units. Yes, of course, robots can solve the problem of finding qualified or dedicated
employees. Robotic milking systems also provides the dairy man or woman with computer-enhanced
monitoring of individual cows: which quarter isn’t milking out, or producing less due to mastitis scars;
the amount of feed consumed during milking; which inflation needs replacing; or foot-health on the
mats inside the stall. Technology can help us keep our cows healthier – and health cows are happy
cows, and happy cows make lots of milk!
The future of the dairy industry, in Wisconsin and around the world, is going to be dependent on
technology – of all sorts! Not every dairyman needs a robot, not every dairywoman wants to invest
the money into a new parlor. For the mom-and-pop operations, the 100-cow dairy farms, the 20-goat
parlors, DairyTrain offers new, used, and hard-to-find dairy equipment at affordable prices. We haven’t
sold a robotic unit yet – but as the research and development speeds up, the big ticket items will the
latest-and-greatest, and DairyTrain may sell this year’s model! Call us first – (608)539-2044 or 539-
2075 – or check out the websites: dairytrain.com and dairytrainclassifieds.com
Annie is an member of the Dairy Train Staff. She teaches at the local college and works with us at Dairy Train bringing a fresh prospective to the company