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Cows, Calves, Jewelry and Technology

Jun 30, 2022 | Animal Care

We are surrounded by technology in our lives. From our computers to our phones to our vehicles and watches, technology (mostly) makes our lives better. While a farm might not be the first place many people would think about using technology, we have some really neat tech that helps make our lives and our cow’s lives better. 

Obviously, we are fans of tech here at Majestic Crossing Dairy. We milk many of our cows with milking robots and even have a feed pusher robot. We recently invested in two new pieces of cow and calf-centric tech that I am excited about and wanted to share with you all. 

 

  1. We’ve expanded our cow’s “Fitbit” system. 

Since we put in milking robots at Majestic Crossing our cows have been wearing collars that tell the milking robots which cow is being milked and also track data on the cow. At our Highland farm our cows are milked in a milking parlor instead of with robots and the cows there haven’t had this extra piece of technology in their lives, until now. We saw the value in the system we installed at Majestic Crossing and decided to incorporate a similar system at Highland. While in the older system the cows wear something around their necks, with our new system the cows get to wear a cool ear tag instead. 

 

Both systems are very similar to the Fitbit many people wear. They track each cow’s steps and their rumination, meaning how often they are eating and chewing their cud. Then an algorithm uses that data to report anything out of the normal. If a cow isn’t eating or moving much we can tell she isn’t feeling well or if she is moving around more than usual and not eating like she usually would, we know to check to see if she might be in heat and be ready to be bred. 

One of the neat things our new tracking system can do is help us spot cows in the barn. Each ear tag has a small light on it and we can activate the light from a computer to help us find the cows we want in the herd more quickly. It’s a really cool feature that we are excited about. 

 Nothing can take the place of human eyes looking over the cows multiple times a day but these systems can help us to spot any health issues even earlier. While Tiffany’s may make beautiful jewelry for humans, we think our cow’s necklaces and earrings are even more special.  

 

  1. We’ve purchased a colostrum pasteurizer. 

We know the secret to getting calves off to a great start is making sure they get lots of good quality colostrum as their first feeding. The time and steps between when colostrum is milked from the cow and fed to the calves can be a weak spot where bacteria could potentially take hold and make our calves sick. We obviously want to prevent that, so we bought the pasteurizer and a storage system that helps us to make sure our calves get as close to perfect colostrum as possible. 

With our new system, we can pasteurize the colostrum from several cows at the same time. This process kills off any bacteria that could be harmful to the calf. Then the colostrum is transferred into sterile bags and refrigerated until it’s ready to be used. The pasteurizer also has a warming feature so when we are ready to feed the bags of colostrum we can put them into the warming cycle and have it be the perfect temperature to feed our newborn calves. 

While there is no replacing the basics of keeping our equipment clean and making sure we are using high-quality colostrum in the first place, this little bit of technology is helping us to level up our newborn calf care. 

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