Jim Dickrell is the editor of Dairy Herd Management and is based in Monticello, Minn.
Capital for Labor
Oct 04, 2011
The greatest dairy show on earth opens today in Madison, Wis., which is still arguably the heart of the U.S. dairy industry. It certainly will be the heart of the global industry these next five days.
World Dairy Expo has evolved from a cow-centric event to a much broader audience that encompasses all aspects of the dairy industry. While many visitors take a load off and take pleasure watching the bovine beauties strut their stuff in the Coliseum each day, the commercial exhibits are where business gets done for commercial producers.
This year, 130 new exhibitors will be offering their products and services for the first time. Plus, 120 international exhibitors from 28 countries will be on hand to round out the 800 exhibitors at the show.
Every one of these exhibitors offers products that help produce milk better, faster, cheaper—keys to surviving this now globally competitive industry. Dairy producers have been trading capital for labor for past century. But this year’s show will take that effort to a whole new level.
Dairy equipment companies such as DeLaval and Lely will be exhibiting refinements to their robotic milkers that take automated milking systems (AMS) to a step above existing systems. These innovations are being driven by acute labor shortages across the globe, where milking labor is difficult to find and horrendously expensive when it does walk through the door. U.S. producers are taking note, particularly as legal Hispanic labor is becoming increasingly difficult to document and mandatory E-Verify efforts ramp up.
DeLaval will be introducing its Automated Milking Rotary parlor, a 24-stall internal carousel that uses four robots to prep, attach and remove milking units. While the unit is designed for mid-sized dairies up to about 1,000 cows, you can bet DeLaval engineers are dreaming even bigger for large U.S. dairies.
Lely is introducing its Astronaut A4 individual stall robotic milker, which can measure milk temperature, color, conductivity, fat, protein, lactose and individual quarter somatic cell counts. Lely engineers say the A4’s low-obstacle design allows for smooth cow movement into and out of the stall to optimize cow flow and throughput. To date, Lely has installed more than 10,000 automated milking systems worldwide, and as proof to that claim, published sales materials in 15 languages. Lely is also hosting a virtual farm tour of one of its AMS on-farm installations this Thursday at noon.
These are just two examples of the kind of exciting dairy technology that will be exhibited at World Dairy Expo. Hopefully, you’ll be able to attend and "kick the tires" on this new equipment. If not, Dairy Today staff will be providing daily coverage of product announcements, dairy news and issues through this e-newsletter and at www.dairytoday.com.
To plan your trip, thumb through your August issue of Dairy Today, which includes the World Dairy Expo Official Program. Or scan our virtual edition here. If I don’t see you today around the show, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Enjoy World Dairy Expo 2011!