Expert Insights

Dairy Feeding Technology Opportunities and Challenges

When it comes to dairy nutritional management – both at the herd and animal level – there are few more distinguished experts than Dr. Trevor DeVries, Canada Research Chair in Dairy Cattle Behavior and Welfare at the University of Guelph and Professor at the Ontario Agricultural College, Department of Animal Biosciences.

On November 12, Dr. DeVries hosted a VES-Artex Academy Webinar on the challenges and opportunities in precision dairy feeding technology. Dr. DeVries will dive into many of the specifics surrounding the utilization of technology and automation to improve diet preparation, feed monitoring, and delivery. One such platform that will be monitoring these critical back-of-barn operations is DairyBOS®, which is broadening integrations to include feed management and animal activity.

Dr. DeVries expects DairyBOS and other related technologies to also contribute to more successful management and decision-making, particularly in three critical areas that he says are key to improving overall feeding behavior on dairies.

“The top three ways to improve eating behavior would be to optimize diet (forage) quality, maintain feed consistency, and also maintain good feed access,” Dr. DeVries said. “All of those, in part, may be enhanced through adoption of dairy feeding technology.”

Other industry developments that DeVries is closely monitoring in relation to improved on-dairy nutritional management is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist in the behavior and health monitoring of cows as well as monitoring management tasks. VES-Artex is working on solutions that will offer customers more of these type of integrations with AI technology.

Additionally, by having automation take more control over management tasks, this will allow dairy managers to allocate more time to improving their dairy’s overall operation, which has trickle-down effects on improved nutrition programs, as well as throughout the dairy.

“We will see more and more of this in the future,” DeVries says.

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