Innovation takes center stage at World Dairy Expo in Madison

By GAY GRIESBACH - For the Daily News

Oct. 17, 2017

Onno Siegers and Edwin van Ens, shown Oct. 6 at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, developed a TMR (total mixed ration) system that can be operated from a smartphone.
Gay Griesbach/For the Daily News

Dairy industry innovation that may soon be coming to a barn near you was on display at the 2017 World Dairy Expo Oct. 3-7 in Madison.

The cost effectiveness of many of the advances applied to farms with 300 or more animals, but as land lines and clipboards give way to smartphones and tablets, prices drop making them more accessible to a wider audience.

Dairy Applications started in the Netherlands three years ago when software engineer Onno Siegers and Edwin Van Ens, who had a background farming, developed software which allows the operator to set and change ration recipes in the feed mixer from their Smartphone.

“Before this there was no software for feed,” Corry Siegers said.

The app can also change the number of cows, ration recipes and the number of barns.

After feeding, farmers can fill in cow groups and recipes on a secured personal webpage from Dairy Applications.

A visitor from Peru takes a closer look at a Big Ass fan on Oct. 6 at the
World Dairy Expo in Madison.

Gay Griesbach/For the Daily News

Onno Siegers said right now the application works best for farms that have between 350 and 2,000 cows.

The Avid MiniTracker Blue Tooth handheld reader, showcased by Livestock Supplies and Services, reads and sends microchip and tag ID numbers directly to Bluetooth capable devices and Valley Agricultural Software launched their VAS Platform at the Expo.

The platform brings together feed, cow and parlor data into a single webbased interface accessible anywhere with an internet or cell phone connection.

Founded in 1948 in the Netherlands, Lely has manufactured automated milking systems for 25 years, but in Washington County, the technology is relatively new, with the first robotic milkers installed at a Hartford-area dairy late last year.

Venessa Knoblock, regional Midwest sales specialist said some clients purchase the units to accommodate younger members of the family who want to join the business.

“They’re looking for a way to make it economically viable,” she said.

Other buyers that are five or six years away from retirement want to upgrade their operations to make their farms more desirable in a resale market.

An automatic calf feeder made by competitor DeLaval took top ten honors in Dairy Herd Management’s Innovation Awards at the Expo.

In addition to offering complete control over milk feeding each calf, it connects to CalfApp and CalfCloud, allowing remote access to the animal’s feeding patterns from a Smartphone or tablet.

Cow comfort was also featured in new products debuting at the Expo and displayed in a section on its website under the title “Innovation Unveiled.”

There were slip resistant rubber mats designed to conform to the shape of a cow when it lies down, hoof trimming chutes, bedding dryers, animal-friendly free stall systems and cow brushes designed to increase cow health, happiness and production.

Big Ass Fans unveiled AirEye — a fan that not only can be manually controlled, it has an infrared occupancy sensor that can detect comfort levels when either livestock or people are present.

Environmental and water conservation was also at the fore when it came to innovation — static screens developed to separate liquids and solids and technology to separate livestock slurry, biogas and other effluents and, according to Trident Processes liaison agricultural outreach specialist Wyatt McCloskey, they aren’t resting on their laurels. McCloskey talked to people about older wastewater refining and nutrient recovery technology made better.

McCloskey said the current Trident system removes fiber from manure and captures smaller nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK). The fiber recovered can be used as bedding or incorporated into the soil. NPK, in separate solid form, and cleaner water can be used for irrigation, but the company is currently in research and development to refine the system further, so that water is clean enough to be stream dischargeable.