Watching any NFL or college football game you’re sure to see a barrage of instant replays with the commentators dissecting what went right or wrong during the play. For Perazzo Brothers Dairy of Fallon, Nev. being able to recall the day’s events with video recordings on the farm has been a game changer.
The Perazzos moved into a new parlor and added pens to the dry lot dairy in Oct. 2014 as part of an expansion effort. Updates to the facilities also featured the installation of 20 cameras around the farm. Brother’s Alan and David, along with David’s son, Daniel, needed more eyes to monitor cows and employees with the dairy growing from 500 cows to 1,000 and possibly 1,600 in the future.
All 20 camera angles on the farm can be seen from a computer screen in the office of the parlor. Another place to view the cameras can be found at the end of the parlor, behind a large observation window in the breakroom. The 42-inch flat screen TV protected by glass has a feed of the pushup area and four angles of the maternity pen on a loop for the workers in the parlor to view.
Daniel looks at all 20 camera angles from the Perazzo Brothers Dairy office. The feed from the camera can also be called up on a smartphone for viewing anywhere.
“It is just a matter of being a management tool on that end,” David says of the TV.
If a cow needs immediate aid during calving, someone in the parlor can ring for help or head that direction after seeing the action live on TV. Newborn calves can also be picked up in a timelier manner.
The TV helps the milkers directly because they don’t have to constantly walk back to make sure cows are flowing into the parlor. Also, it benefits cow handling because there won’t be as high of likelihood of cows balking to come into the parlor because no-one has to physically look at them entering.
The pushup pen features a crowd gate that automatically starts pushing cows up after 45 seconds. It has helped eliminate the need for an employee to be present to push up cows.
“Overall, we tell the milkers to stay in the pit and be patient. Cows are trained and they’ll go in if you let them. If you go out to get them, they’ll wait for you to get them,” Alan says.
“That milker will either change, or they won’t be here,” David adds.
Everyone knows they are being held accountable all of the time.
Alan says the video serves as a nice training tool and fortunately there hasn’t been much need to look at film. He relates, “But anytime we have an issue we can say, “Let’s go back and look at it.””
In one instance David was trying to get a milker to use one towel per cow. The employee said they were just using one towel per cow. Film doesn't lie and after a little rewinding the milker saw that he was using one towel on two cows with the possibility of passing bacteria from one cow to the next.
Following the replay, the employee was alright with the advice and changed to using one towel per cow as requested.
“We’re thrilled with it. Our milkers are not giving us any grief at all with those cameras,” Alan says.
In another instance a few cows went into the wrong pen at the dairy. Through the video, the Perazzos were able to determine the cows had entered the correct pen after leaving the parlor. This helped them eliminate any reason for looking at problems directly at the barn and focus on any mishaps back in the pen.
There was even a time the video replay led to a blooper-type moment. A milker asked to have the footaged dialed back to 10:30 the previous night and see their comical fall to the ground. “He got a kick out of it and wanted to see it,” Alan laughs.
The addition of the cameras has helped the dairy improve employee efficiency and cow care.
“They all know they are being filmed and I think it has been a good tool overall,” Alan concludes.